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Designing mental health and wellbeing services that resonate with young people at all stages of their mental health and wellbeing journey

The challenge

There is a growing emphasis on mental and physical health in society. The pandemic and social influences in Australia have made it clear that young people require support and guidance to maintain positive health and wellbeing. This is where headspace, Australia's National Youth Mental Health Foundation, comes in. Founded in 2006, headspace has become an essential provider of vital support services to young people, their families, and their friends. headspace strives to deliver effective and integrated services, collaborate to drive improved outcomes, and provide young people access and choice.

headspace remain committed to improving their services at scale and strengthening their brand and influential voice to support young people across Australia. headspace needed to make a conscious effort to understand their current service experience and what influences positive health most to prioritise the delivery of services that meet the needs of all young people across Australia.

headspace engaged The Customer Experience Company to uncover its customers' (the young people across Australia) true needs and behaviours to improve the impact and value of its mental health and wellbeing services.

The situation

The approach

The research

The approach CEC took to researching young people's mental health and wellbeing needs brought about significant insights that helped headspace to better understand and design for its large customer base.

While existing research provided a broad understanding of focus areas, CEC recognised the need for deeper, qualitative research to uncover the "why" behind the behaviours and needs of young people. Deep, direct one-on-one research allowed us to truly uncover and explore the stories of young people and hear first-hand the drivers of sustaining positive mental health and wellbeing.

The findings

The solution

The research uncovered a key insight that supported headspace in better segmenting, understanding and designing for its large customer base. Young people exhibited distinct levels of "Mental Health Openness" that directly correlated to unique needs, behaviours and perceptions of their health.

The openness scale and associated insights were paramount to the process. It helped headspace to build a common language in exploring what is relevant to different young people across their health journey. They also paved the way for headspace to innately understand where and how they could tailor their services, communications and partnerships to improve support, access and experiences for all young people.

By collaborating with a diverse mix of headspace staff and customers, CEC and headspace were able to co-design initiatives that empower headspace to deliver maximum value to young people with varying levels of openness. The impact of this research and collaborative design is immense, as it enables headspace to identify what will have the most impact in providing tailored support and care to young people across Australia.

“The research and insights we’ve gathered from this CX work has been invaluable to headspace. By truly understanding the current experiences of young people today, we are better prepared to meet their needs head-on and create services and supports that put them at the heart of what we do.” - Kristene Reynolds, Executive Director – Strategic Communications and Marketing

Headspace CX Opportunities Report

The impact

We provided headspace with several CX artefacts that equip and support headspace in understanding and serving the unique needs of young people as well as their organisations needs.

Our Customer Experience (CX) Toolkit provides a comprehensive set of tools including: an Openness Mindset Model, a Customer Needs Framework, and a Proactive Health Maintenance Journey map - all of which enable headspace to build a common language around young people’s needs and design and deliver initiatives that align with the unique needs of young people.

Our Prioritisation Framework is another critical tool that sets out a straightforward decision-making process for assessing the value of potential initiatives, ensuring that headspace is making the best possible choices for young people, the organisation, and its stakeholders alike.

From collaborative design, we developed an Opportunities Report that outlines tactical recommendations to improve existing service delivery and identifies new strategic opportunity areas for headspace to explore further.

“We’re evolving our brand at headspace, refreshing our narrative, creating a new brand campaign – all of which have been entrenched in the customer experience journey to ensure we are delivering the best quality support to young people across Australia.” - Kristene Reynolds, Executive Director – Strategic Communications and Marketing

Our Customer Experience (CX) Toolkit, Prioritisation Framework and Opportunities Report have enabled headspace to better understand the needs of their customer base, young people in Australia, identify where to focus for the highest impact and integrate insight into their decision-making process. With it, headspace can now:

  • Create a shared view and common language around young people and their support networks needs (their customer)
  • Better integrate the voice and needs of young people (customers) into ongoing decision-making
  • Use meaningful insights to design the headspace customer experience, and
  • Set tactical and strategic focus areas that inform their future customer strategy.

In 2023, the work received a prestigious Good Design Award Winner Accolade in the Design Research category in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.

The Good Design Awards Jury commented: “The design of these mental health services feels intuitively connected to young users. The Jury commends the design team on the deep engagement of research to those in need. This project has the potential to make a positive impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Well done.”

The impact

headspace is equipped and uniquely positioned to better design for, reach, and impact the young people of Australia in their mental health and wellbeing journey now, and into the future, for decades to come.

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