Last month at the HXRefactored conference, I got to talk about the need to close the innovation gap and how some of the other gaps in research, funding and treatment can limit innovation. I was very excited to be a part of the conference and moderate a panel about design in mental health care. I have been studying design and how to design for people with mental illness, cognitive disorders and neurological developmental disorders. It was the focus of my PhD which I started in 2004; and since then, there have only been a very limited number of sessions that focus on design for people with mental illness.
There are a lot, a lot of problems in mental health, but we never talk about innovation. It is a sad reality that the conversation in mental health care is a constant fight not to go backward in the services and care we have that doesn’t meet the current need.
I believe we need to add innovation to the conversation because it is only through closing the innovation gap that we can address many of the problems in mental health care and substance abuse. Like any other industry, the only way we are going to reduce cost, increase access and improve quality is through innovation. We need to talk more about investing in innovation, research, development and learning more about designing for this population. It was great to be part of a panel where we were talking about how to innovate in this area, sharing some challenges and know-how. We need to rethink our design methods and tool kits.
If this topic interests you and you want to dig deeper, check out some other pieces I’ve written:
- The Boston Globe’s blog on innovation
- Wellocracy on the need for innovation in mental health
- TedX talk on my journey designing in mental health
Finally if you want to advocate for innovation in mental healthcare and substance abuse, there is a bill I drafted with my state rep which is currently in the House Finance Committee.
iHub Innovation Strategy Manage