Costs and demand for mental healthcare are continuously rising. Technology could contribute to relieving this strain by mediating, facilitating or providing therapeutic treatment. However, this raises the question: can technology take a big role in mental health, where human connection and values (such as compassion) are so important? To facilitate the integration of technology into mental health care, we propose to put compassion first, both in its design process and further use. Compassion means recognizing suffering and being motivated to alleviate it. Therefore, we see compassionate technology as technology that facilitates and enables the recognition and relieving of human suffering.
In this project, we explore how to embed compassion in design for technology (design for values), how technology can be evaluated on compassion, and how therapists and technology can optimally work together to alleviate suffering.
To do so, we built a multidisciplinary team, consisting of researchers from both interaction design and psychology at the university of Twente. Furthermore, we work with mental health care organizations such as Dimence groep, and the eHealth developer Minddistrict. The project is subsidized by a NWO (the Dutch research council) grant, for its relevance for society and health.
The main aim of this project is to propose a new perspective on the design and use of technology for mental health care: with compassion as the guiding force and motivation. Firstly, we will work on empowering therapists with a structured, evidence based Blended Treatment way of working, which is also rooted in the principles of compassionate technology. Secondly, we will design innovative technology around the value of compassion. Ultimately, these activities can lead to more sustainable mental healthcare, where both people and technology together contribute to compassionate treatment.
- Dimence Groep offers mental health care, welfare and social services in the east of the Netherlands. At the Dimence Groep, care is organized into a number of skilled, partly smaller foundations, each with its own target group. More than 2,800 employees work for more than 50,000 clients per year at the Dimence Group foundations.
- Minddistrict is an ehealth platform that offers online modules, diaries and questionnaires. Healthcare organisations use the platform and catalogue to provide digitally enabled therapy to their clients.
We would like to thank all the talented students from the University of Twente that worked with us on the compassionate technology project, in particular the students that participated in the two editions of the Multisensory Design course (in 2020-2021, 2021-2022) and explored sensory design requirements for Compassionate Technology. We thank the students for their creative projects and visuals, and for allowing us to showcase them in the banner of this website (at the very top of the page).
Thanks to: Adam Meijer, Andries WIjnveen, Coos Pot, Leyla van Ligtenberg, Naomi van Stralen, Sweta Balumurali, Fredrika Åström, Joep Eijkemans, Amanda Kullberg, Rinalds Kugis, Elisa Nguyen, Nora Tunc, Emma Brouwer, Timo Lempers, Nathan Doornenbal, Alexandre Carqueja, Cristina Mach Llanos, Marion Laussegger, Michelle Buis, Mika van Duijn, Puck Kemper, Daniela van Meggelen, Hannah Ottenschot, Jasper Peetsma, Shuyu Chen, Charlotte Hak, Jiangpengchen Kang, Melike Oğuz, Tim Yeung, Rayhan Aryoseno Bayuaji, Carolien van den Bosch, Casper Hazebroek, Dieuwke Haagsma, Mirre van den Bos, Thomas van den Berg, Yfke Dotinga.