Mental Health Care at Universities and the Technology Adoption Life Cycle

Based on our market research, we established four main market segments which show promising growth opportunities for Perked! In order to decide which market is most promising, we evaluate the potential of success in entering the specific market and establishing a stable, growing position by the Technology Adoption Cycle.

After analysing our users along the Technology Adaption Cycle we get a clear picture of the different needs and their interconnections within the market for mental health care services at universities. To get a better understanding of the differences within innovators, early adopters, the early and late majority, as well as laggards, I interviewed Dr. Erika Horwitz who is the Associate Director in counselling services at SFU and expert in this specific market.

The interview points out that mostly the innovators are proactive groups that want to raise more awareness in general well-being on campus. Campaigns, student mental health associations and health promotion services try to achieve this goal and are always looking for new methods to improve mental well-being of the campus community, like promoting techniques to manage stress levels or events and workshops in case of anxiety disorders. At SFU which is used as showcase, the Health Promotion Services face the need of understanding, based on feedback from the SFU campus community, where there are opportunities to further support mental health & well-being. Perked! creates a perfect fit by providing a feedback system which enables more transparency based on anonymized data and thus, the Health Promotion Services would benefit from better suggestions in meeting the needs of students in terms of their well-being.

The Health Promotion Service works closely together with SFU Counselling Services. This shows an essential interconnection between innovators and early adopters. As Erika explained, the innovators have a broad overview of the current situation while the early adopters narrow this picture down and try to find appropriate solutions for the separate puzzle pieces. In general, early adopters within this market are Health Clinics/Crisis Centres & Counselling Services which collaborate with different faculties and offices of the whole academic institution. Some key challenges of the early adopters are the current inefficient system which is mainly caused by limited resources and more complex mental problems which are caused by a more demanding and complex environment. Early adopters strive for radical improvement regardless of the costs. In our case, SFU Counselling Services wants to make a difference, to drive improvement within an engaged and encouraged community which should be achieved by a more efficient use of available resources. Perked! has, compared to other competitors, one key benefit which drives its uniqueness: an individualized mental health care service with a virtual personal coach. Students could focus on their personal problems and train specific skills and therefore receive better support in improving their mental well-being. Another point is the customer-friendly design and easy use which spreads the app across students and supports the idea of raising awareness in mental health care.

While innovators and early adopters represent the first two user segments within the Technology Adoption Cycle, reaching the early majority is a more difficult undertaking. Although psychologists are actually part of the Counselling Services, they have a stronger focus on the individuals rather than creating campaigns to address groups of students.  Another important group that belongs to the early majority are students who actively search for help and want to help themselves or are extremely aware of their mental health. It is harder to convince them since they do not see themselves as a tester of the product but rather want to be a  user who benefits from proven techniques and mostly follow the advice of therapists (within the same group) or receive offers of the SFU Counselling Service. Their need is to understand what causes mental health imbalance and to react faster to symptoms using the right tools to support mental well-being in the long run. Perked! is scientifically proven in its features and gives the user the possibility to analyse one’s mood, sleep and stress level. Thus the user can follow-up on the own development and improvement and figure out which tools are most effective. Therapists could also proceed faster in their therapy based on the evaluation of Perked! and therefore need less resources.

In order to cross the chasm, Perked! has to address  SFU Counselling Services to get through to the psychologists that would be convinced by the recommendations of their colleagues in their general work environment (including mental health care campaigns etc.), following by the students who receive mental treatment at SFU Counselling Services. However, crossing the chasm is the most difficult part of the whole Technology Adoption Cycle which means that Perked! also has to directly target  those students who are already aware of their mental well-being and would like to improve it. Within the group of early adopters referencing shows a faster pace and more reliability and trust among each other. For example, maybe a stressed student would not react to the offers of the SFU Counselling Services but to the recommendation of a friend or his therapist.

In order to complete the whole picture of the Technology Adoption Cycle, we also have a very quick look at the last two segments by just stating the type of group: the late majority and laggards.

According to Erika, the late majority is defined by those students who are passively seeking for help or suffering from stigma and therefore are not aware about their mental well-being. On the other hand, Erika experienced that not in all cases online services help and that some students do not trust smart phone applications as a therapy method compared to an original therapy.

Laggards are those who do not care about mental health care issues, ignoring their presence and do not want to deal with this topic. Putting effort in convincing the laggards could be a dangerous adventure since the effort here is way higher than for any other group. We should not ignore this segment but also do not try to concentrate on it too much.

Personas of the innovator, early adopter and early majority can be found in the tables below.

Innovators – Healthy Campus Community

tara

Tara Black

28

Associate Director, SFU Health Promotion

Health and Counseling Services

Simon Fraser University

8888 University Drive

Burnaby, V5A 1S6

778.782.4587

tblack@sfu.ca

Twitter: @SFUhealth_promo

http://www.sfu.ca/healthycampuscommunity.html

Psychographics

Decision Making

Likes

Dislikes

Challenges

Goals

Careful (evaluation) & team decision

Team spirit, awareness and tolerance for mental health issues, improve well-being of patients

Stigma, contra well-being systems (pressure, competitiveness), still low percentage of student awareness in mental health care

Reach more people, limited budget

More awareness and support in mental health care on campus, more happy faces and healthy minds

Behavior

Media Consumption

Habits & Skills

Preference areas

Network (strategic alignment: Healthy Campus Community initiative), forums, social media, requests

Creative thinking (events, services, promotion etc.), team player

Building a strong and engaged community, supportive institutional culture

Environment

Job Tasks

Technology Landscape

Purchasing Process

Buying Budget

Promotion of mental health care, identifying needs and problems, networking and linking to other areas of Health & Counselling Services (HCS)

Promoting & supporting online services, social media, online resources on blog and website

Needs approval from Admin Team & consultation with Health & Counselling Services

Limited, given from institution SFU to HCS

Early Adopter – SFU Counselling Services

erika

Erika Horwitz

46

Ph.D, R. Psych. & Associate Director, SFU Counselling Services

Health and Counseling Services

Simon Fraser University

erika_horwitz@sfu.ca

778.782.3197

https://www.sfu.ca/students/health/

Psychographics

Decision Making

Likes

Dislikes

Challenges

Goals

Collective decision, gives approval, intuitive

Carrying & supportive team, observing students making progress, making a difference

Short on resources (labor, budget), lack of better feedback or evaluation systems for used methods

High number of students suffering from mental disorders (not all search for help), stigma, more complex mental disorders

Raising awareness on mental issues, encouraging community, driving improvement all together

Behavior

Media Consumption

Habits & Skills

Preference areas

Mainly network (HiFIVE and other initiatives), colleagues (Health Promotion Service, psychologists), research publications

Vast experience in mental therapy, engaged beyond her job, cooperative

Mental health awareness campaigns, counselling students with mental health disorders or illnesses

Environment

Job Tasks

Technology Landscape

Purchasing Process

Buying Budget

Coordinating services, cooperating with initiatives, finding successful therapy methods

Online resources on blog and website, offering online services, workshop based on mindfulness-based program (MBSR)

Needs approval from Admin Team & consultation with Health & Counselling Service

Limited, given from institution SFU to HCS

Early Majority – Clinical Counsellor

megan

Megan Pinfield

34

PhD candidate, Clinical Counsellor

SFU Health and Counselling Services

Burnaby Campus 778-782-4615

Surrey Campus 778-782-5200

Vancouver Campus 778-782-5200

https://www.sfu.ca/students/health/

Psychographics

Decision Making

Likes

Dislikes

Challenges

Goals

personal, based on what is best for the patient

more openness towards mental disorders, successful recreation in patients, providing helpful tools and techniques (self-help & learning) to patients

too less time to form progress with patient together

scarce resources (less time vs. high demand), complex problems

raising more importance for mental health care to increase value of Counselling Services, active support for students

Behavior

Media Consumption

Habits & Skills

Preference areas

Research studies, through work and academic environment (discussions etc.), forums, initiatives and practices in other universities

Counselling & coaching (offering supportive tools and practices)

Dealing with severe mental disorders or illness

Environment

Job Tasks

Technology Landscape

Purchasing Process

Buying Budget

Counselling, Reporting (Feedback; evaluating methods)

Offering online services besides therapy

Not directly involved, can give suggestions to Director

Depends on budget for Counselling Services and decision of Associate Director

———————————————————————————————————————————-

Footnote:

Personas for Health Campus Community and Clinical Counsellors are based on assumptions and information of the expert Erika Horwitz. An interview with Tara Black and Megan Pinfield follows next week. Further, I asked if it is possible to create a survey in order to have a clearer picture of the early majority (students that search actively for help but are not suffering from severe mental disorders or illness; students that are extremely aware of their mental well-being) but have not received an answer yet if it would be okay for them

Somehow the tables for the personas are displaced. If there are difficulties in reading them, I can send PDF version of my blog post

Tanja Krasnikov

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