Be Safe and Youth Voice

As mindyourmind's Program Manager, Melissa cares deeply about helping those struggling with their mental health. Her weekly blog, 'Radical Transparency', helps break down barriers by sharing the inner working of the program and fielding qustions from users. She is also a passionate gamer who envisions games as a way to create a better world.

This weekend I co-facilitated a Be Safe Design Studio with our co-op student, Rachel. It was her first studio, and our first using Google Hangouts. Using a new piece of technology is always a bit of a guessing game, but this was a great option. We'll definitely be using it moving forward.

The group was great. We had two youth who'd been there for the original Design Studio back in 2013 to compliment a group of new people. Before the chat, everyone had given some thought as to what were the best things about Be Safe, and what improvements should be made. It's amazing so see that after years, the app still speaks to youth and that there are every day, more solutions to help improve their experience. 

We came up with a list of changes and additions to the app (update the about us page to address privacy and access concerns), new copy (self-care & how to start a conversation), adding the use of headings to divide up types of resources (LGBT, gender-specific, campus-specific), and new ways to ensure that the data in the app is always quality. We also made plans to improve SEO, promote thought Facebook and google more fully, a welcome kit for people who want to promote the app and the creation of 'brand ambassadors' to help spread reach to people who need it. 

We're so privileged to be able to update this app every year. It's with our partners from all across Ontario, all of whom pay into an account specifically for updates, and engagement with youth that we can do this. So many apps are created and then go stale. Thanks to everyone coming together for a common goal, we can have an app that grows with its population. 

We'll be holding another Design Studio in the New Year, since not everyone could make it this weekend. And in the meantime, we'll keep moving ahead on creating new content as a team.