Project Summary
LingoCare is a multilingual mental health literacy program by Vancouver Coastal Health to help educate newcomer youths on mental wellness through their school system in order to raise awareness and provide access to mental health support without language barriers.
LingoCare brings family, school and mental health professionals on board to create a well-rounded support system for newcomer youth.
Why LingoCare exists?
Canadian mental health care system still follows a monolingual narration and approach and presents a lack of cultural-competent, oppression-focused and trauma-informed care.​​​​​​​ In addition, stigmas around mental health issues in different cultures also prevent patients from seeking care. Add language barriers into the mix, and a newcomer youth faces multiple challenges when it comes to seeking mental wellness support.
Project Details
Design Brief
     Multilingual Government Service Design
     - Addressing issues in health care for limited English proficient (LEP) patients
     - Promotion of culturally competent healthcare
     - Connecting patients, healthcare professionals, and communities in a collective healthcare model
     6 weeks
Intended Client
     Vancouver Coastal Health
Take a look at the complete service

LingoCare-Service demo video, 2023

1. Identify areas of interest
When receiving the design brief, I knew I wanted to design a service in Health care. I was able to identify a few areas of interest to do research on. At this point of the project, I wanted to keep my channels for ideas open and wasn't in a rush to narrow down to a concrete idea just yet.
2. Research
Issues in the existing Canadian Mental health care system
 -Monolingual narration and approach
 -Lack of cultural-competent, oppression-focused and trauma-informed care
 -Stigmas around mental health issues in different cultures prevent patients from seeking care
 -Accessibility issues: Language barriers, Insurance/Cost, healthcare professionals' availability, etc
 -Difficulties in connecting to health care professionals and long wait time
Challenges of Newcomer youths
 -Facing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or migratory grief
 -Stigmas around mental health issues in different cultures cause hesitation in seeking care
 -Accessibility issues such as language barriers and insurance coverage.

Existing projects that address the topics

For many decades in Canada, the mental health challenges of immigrant and refugee children have been undetected and unaddressed, creating a significant cost to the healthcare system.
3. Design Proposal
Frequently, our perception of healthcare revolves solely around the interactions between patients and their medical caregivers. However, it's crucial to recognize the significant role that families and communities play in facilitating a patient's recovery journey. By enhancing the bond between healthcare professionals and communities, physicians and medical practitioners can actively seek comprehension, express empathy, acquire knowledge, and remain well-informed, particularly in the context of treating patients from diverse cultural backgrounds. At the same time, families and communities can elevate awareness and educate themselves about how to provide support beyond the confines of healthcare institutions. Establishing strong connections among patients, their families or communities, and healthcare providers will establish a collaborative care model that not only fosters culturally competent healthcare but also strengthens the overall support network.​​​​​​​
I want to design a campaign that works to bring healthcare providers, individuals (patients), families, and communities together in a collective care model to promote culturally competent care.
I'm interested in decolonized mental health care through multilingual services, but I feel like I'm biting more than I can chew for this project, especially when factoring in caring for vulnerable groups like immigrant women and adolescents.
4. Feedback from external partners
An important aspect of this project that is also a new experience for me is working with external partners, those who are currently working in the service design field. At this stage, I already had a direction but still not a concrete idea. My first feedback section with the partners was extremely valuable. Not only that I receive feedback on my current direction but I was about to consult their expertise about my struggles and ways to solidify my idea.
Jo is working as head of user experience at CSPS
Michelle is working as a senior UX designer with the Government of British Columbia
Godon is Vice President of OXD
5. Challenges and Resolutions

I couldn't identify my key user because I worry about leaving out important service users.
I was also struggling to find ways to design services for a vulnerable group of users- newcomers to Canada without re-inforcing stereotypes or re-traumatizing them.
After my talk with my class instructor, I was reminded that I shouldn't be designing for everyone but a key user whom I was excited and passionate about designing for.​​​​​​​
6. Building Empathy
I selected the age group of 14 to 18 ( high school students) to design for because they have a bit more autonomy in the world compared to children of younger age groups. Newcomer youth face a distinct set of challenges when it comes to accessing mental health care that I want to address. 
Why include parents/guardians?
Research indicates that a parenting approach that combines warmth, guidance, and negotiation while incorporating values from the mainstream culture and the culture of origin can result in positive psychological and academic outcomes.
Furthermore, supportive parenting may help to mitigate the risks associated with cultural gaps between parents and children.
Benefits of bringing mental health professionals into LingoCare
In the initial years of transition to Canada, healthcare professionals are considered a valuable source of support for newcomer adolescents, ranking second only to their friends and equivalent to their teachers.
Attending the program, mental health professionals will also have a chance to learn perspectives from different cultures and develop empathy and understanding of how to best care for diverse communities.
Service Blue Print
How can I design a service for newcomer youth as a key user but still include secondary users - their parents and mental health care professionals without removing the focus from my key user?
This could be done in the onboarding phase, the youth will have a different onboarding journey than their parents.  In workshops, activities should be catered to youth.
8. User tests
Role play prototyping
I asked my classmate Jenny from China to play a newcomer parent who has a child expressing mental health issue symptoms, as well as a psychiatrist to wants to learn about cultural competency to go through their journeys.
Feedback from classmates and external partners
- It's nice that the parent's journey is different from the youth's journey in some areas because parents can do a lot to support their children in the back
- Is this a recurring service?
- How to make sure there will be an interpreter for all the languages who will attend?
- It's such a wonderful model with lots of thoughtfulness, but you can think about what existing services you can incorporate in this design.
Service touch-points
1. Poster
Posters about LingoCare in different languages can be found around the school.
Students can scan the QR code to the information website.
2. VCH website
Information on LingoCare is posted on the Vancouver Coastal Health Child& Youth mental health website. Site visitors can select to read content in their preferred language and sign up on the website.
3. Workshop
The workshop is the main part of the service, where youths can bring a parent or guardian to learn and get advice on mental health issues. After the workshop, attended professionals can provide referrals to suitable help for the youth in need. The workshop helps raise awareness, and equip youths and guardians with resources.
Resources offered during the workshop can be requested to be translated into multiple languages.
Learning outcome
1. Practice collaborative methodologies with external (non-designer) partners

During this project, I have done lots of practicing in networking, reaching out to external partners, and setting meetings to talk about my project. It is also useful to clarify what areas I want feedback in. Too much feedback about too many things sometimes overcomplicates things for me.

2. Updating my online portfolio. Yay, another portfolio piece that I am very proud of.

3. I know what kind of design works really excites me and gives me a sense of purpose. I will be looking into a mix of Affirmative and Activism Design. I love being able to do advocacy work through my design.

4. I also found out that I love design research, but still need to work on my skills to turn those research into a more focused direction. Doing user journeys and provoking user scenarios really helped.
Future direction
1. Design ways to collect feedback for the program that could help turn the intangible values into accessible tangible legacy in the future.
2. Research on developing a trauma-informed design practice for a vulnerable group of users.
Full Project Documentation

LingoCare- Complete Project documentation book

Project details pg 1-27
Appendix page 28-93

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