This thesis explores the stigmas and taboos surrounding youth health centers in Sweden and how this might be hindering young people to visit youth health centers. It’s exploring how this can be challenged and how the threshold can be lowered. It does this by involving the informal support system and bringing the youth health center to the youth arena which allows for a more informal type of support and guidance.
The youth health centers in Sweden have been around since 1970 and are a well known and established form of healthcare, yet the majority of visitors are young women. How come? I’ve been working from the hypothesis that there is a need for more youth to seek help but that they for various reasons don't manage to make it all the way there. There are many stigmas surrounding topics that youth health centers are dealing with, such as sex, depression, or domestic violence. This is especially true for young people entering adulthood.
Using a human-centered design approach this project has through the involvement of adolescents, midwives and youth workers among others, been exploring challenges and finding opportunities where interaction design can be used to improve the situation for the youth that do not make it to the youth health centers but that want and would benefit from their services.
The final design proposal is an ambassadorship, aimed towards adults already part of the informal support system, that will enable youth to feel more empowered to seek help. It is set up to reach young people in new ways, in an informal manner to bring the solution to the youth and to create a more comfortable space for them to open up within. Part of this is also a service for youth to effortlessly get in contact with the youth health center and to create personal connections to its personnel through link cards and video presentations. These connections are there to prepare the youth and to lower the bar of contact by building trust and humanize the help-seeking process by making it clear that they are not trying to contact an institution, but a person.