MFA Thesis 2020
SoMonki, at its core, investigates how technology could be leveraged in a positive way to benefit mental health care. How can we make the smartphone a tool for human social and emotional development? SoMonki (short for Social Monki) is a dual-facing mobile app for middle school psychologists, counselors, and social workers and the students they work with.
On the student side, the app serves as a way to help adolescents practice social and emotional skills. Through mentorship and exercises, adolescent students can practice communicating, thereby increasing their capacity for empathy and improving relationships. SoMonki utilizes elements of gamification to keep the app and exercises engaging.
On the mental health care provider side, the app functions more like a client/caseload management platform. Providers can manage student care and easily communicate with mentors, which allows them to quickly process where a student is in a practice curriculum and see how many students and schools are using it.
Icons by Victoruler
of teens (or 3.8M) in U.S. with a treatable mental health condition did not get needed treatment in 2016
teens receive mental health services in an educational setting
“I feel like in school, no one ever feels like they can give enough [...] oftentimes, I think I want us to be more focused on that mental health piece. But really considering how stretched we are across multiple schools, and that's true for I would say, most districts in the country but certainly our area, it's just not totally feasible.”
- Elementary School Psychologist
While many teenagers rely upon the education system for mental health care, there’s unfortunately a shortage of providers for this age range.
Many of the counselors and other mental health care professionals working in educational settings, who I spoke with during stakeholder interviews, have a lot of responsibilities. Sometimes it’s wearing too many hats or having an enormous case load (number of students they are responsible for or working with).
Middle School Counselors & Psychologists
Middle School Students
Psychology, Counseling, and Social Work Graduate Students
Prototyping, Process & User Testing
"I don't think anything like this exists for social work right now. The platforms we have for education are spread out, confusing and only good for very specific things."
User testing was done with an Invision clickable prototype and user interview conducted by video call.