Last Friday a new app, Goalzie was launched at Merrylands High School. Goalzie was developed to promote the idea that getting help from peers, developing a positive social network and setting goals is the key to achieving satisfaction in both school and in your personal life. The app targets young people who are aged 12 to 17 years old and reinvents the old-school game of ‘Truth or Dare’.
What makes Goalzie so great is that young people actually had a big hand in its development with students being involved right from the beginning when Goalzie was just a concept to its launch last week. The app—created by the Young and Well CRC and the University of South Australia in conjunction with the Western Sydney University, digital partner Zuni and the Queensland University of Technology—was developed through a series of co-creation workshops with young people.
With evidence showing that 75% of mental health difficulties occur before the age of 25 and that 70% of girls and 80% of boys don’t seek help for managing their mental health issues; developing apps such as Goalzie is critical in helping to change those behaviours and encouraging our beautiful young people and future leaders to seek help.
The Westies went along to speak with some of the people involved with the development and launch of Goalzie. The most impressive part was that it was the students running the show and taking ownership of the project. It was clear that giving the students the opportunity to be co- creators in the project has made them champions of the project and far more likely to use the app. (who wouldn’t want to use an app they helped make?) Read on to find out more about Goalzie and the difference it is already starting to make.
how do we help make setting goals and seeking help to achieve those goals part of everyday life?
I am one of the chief investigators with Young and Well online projects which is one of the major projects run by Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre.
In collaboration with the University of South Australia, Queensland University of Technology, Zuni our digital partner and I am from Western Sydney University. The key role that Western Sydney University has played is in the participatory design process working on understanding how can we design campaigns, tools and apps that are engaging and relevant from a young persons’ perspective and developing partnerships with organisations and schools like Merrylands High School.
I think traditionally, particularly in the mental health arena but more broadly, policy and services tend to be designed based on what adults think is good for young people and whilst it is important that we take an evidence based approach, we also need to be working very carefully with young peoples’ lived experience.
The broader Safe and Well project is really interested in key factors that affect young peoples’ safety and wellbeing and we know that personal safety, physical but also emotional safety in a digital age is a huge concern for young people. Connected to both of those key issues is this question around help seeking, what is help seeking? How do we encourage young people to seek help, when they are well in order to support their well being, but also when they are facing a difficult time.
With the Goalzie campaign we are really interested in the question of how do we help make setting goals and seeking help to achieve those goals part of everyday life? We know that social relationships are incredibly important to us all and particularly for young people. When they are trying to achieve something or are facing a difficult issue they are really likely to go to their friends first and so this app is designed around building on that kind of practice. Encouraging young people to do more of what they already do but also to think about “OK, how can I set goals that support me, when I am well?” as well as build those positive attitudes and behaviours so when they are facing a tough time, seeking help is a logical next step.
–Dr Philippa Collin- Research Program Leader, Western Sydney University
“there wasn’t just one, direct path or solution”
I think what came out strongly from the workshops was the diversity of help seeking path ways, it came out really strongly that for young students because of the range of their backgrounds and experiences that there wasn’t just one, direct path or solution, the students felt really strongly that a range of solutions need to be built into the app and a range of problems, highlighting the difference in young people’s perspectives in everyday lived experience.
-Teresa Swist- Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Western Sydney University
“I am just an ordinary kid that goes to school and I ended up helping with an app that’s on the app store!”
Milos Mijatovic, Diya Mehta, Kris Kavanagh and Saagar Goundar, and were part of the group of students involved in the development and creation of Goalzie, the students gave The Westies some insight to the process.
Saagar– I was involved in the testing stages of it, they showed us the app and we saw the pros and cons of the app. There weren’t very many cons. The Goalzie app is good to interact with your friends and share challenges and set goals for each other. My favorite challenge is to make a video of your house live MTV Cribs style, it’s fun and you can do it with your friends.
Diya– I was involved at the very beginning when it was still just a bunch of ideas and concepts, I was an online campaign collaborator and I worked with a bunch of other young people to bring the app to fruition and helped give feedback for the designs of the app and some of the challenges.
I like the challenges where you have to restrict yourself from using social media because I don’t think we realise how much we use social media everyday and it really opens your eyes into how much it is imbued into our everyday life.
Kris – I feel privileged that I got to see this app start up and now become an awesome app that anyone can use, it feels great! It’s been an awesome adventure! The experience that we got from helping with this app is so great.
I like the “don’t eat chocolate for two weeks” challenge because I feel like chocolate is an important part of my life and I have it everyday. Your brain thinks you need it because you are so used to having it everyday, but you don’t need it. So the app really helps you give it up.
Milos– Goalzie is amazing! I feel honored to help with experts developing an app when I am just an ordinary kid that goes to school and I ended up helping with an app that’s on the app store! It’s also helped with confidence in public speaking, being involved with speaking at the app launch.
I am going to sound like the ultimate school boy but my favorite challenge is the study challenge because I rarely study at home but I really need to! I will challenge my brother, I think it will become a rivalry between us, it’s different from my Mum telling me to do my homework because my brother and I have a different relationship, we share the same room, we are in each others lives 24/7 so it’s a little extra banter between us.
Goalzie lets you set goals and also consequences for your friends, it’s fun! It’s good for teaching you how to accomplish goals. I would use it to help with studying, getting in assignments early and eating healthy. Goalzie is good because it’s from your peers and if they are using it you feel more like you should be using it too. – Zoe Taylor – Student, Goalzie User
I would definitely use it. I would get him [my bother] to study more because he is always into games, so I would get him to study more. I do Serbian dancing, so I would set goals to start learning harder dances. – Lazar Mijatovic – Student, Goalzie User
Interviews: Katrina James
Photos: Katrina James