The Stamps School of Design at the University of Michigan has featured the thesis project of Katherine Jones, who partnered with the MyVoice team to design a new set of questions around mental health and developing a policy brief template to allow policy makers to more quickly and more accurately digest large amounts of qualitative information. Through her project, Jones hoped to provide policymakers in Washtenaw County, Michigan with much needed insights to shape youth-informed policies addressing mental health.
While policymakers are often interested in the data and anecdotes collected by surveys like MyVoice, Jones said many are unsure what to do with the information, in part because they are intimidated by the dense “one-pager” or “white paper” reports common within the health research industry. Jones created a more visual representation of the data collected from the MyVoice survey focused on mental health. Jones’ new policy brief format used text messages provided by MyVoice participants to embed mini-narratives within her report. These mini-narratives aimed to demonstrate the difference between a young person who is thriving and one who isn’t. The result: readers were drawn in and wanted to know more, asking themselves, “How many kids in my community aren’t thriving? Now that I know the components, how do I help them along in achieving them?”