Human-Centered Design for a Virtual Human led mHealth Intervention for Suicide Prevention

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Sharon MozgaiAlbert RizzoArno Hartholt

Abstract: Addressing the significant mental and physical healthcare needs of Veterans requires innovative strategies to enhance access to evidence-based care. The integration of Virtual Human (VH) agents into Mobile Health (mHealth) applications presents a promising opportunity to overcome barriers associated with suicide prevention and connect with Veterans. The Battle Buddy (BB) project was conceived as a mobile wellness and suicide prevention application, empowering Veterans with an always-available resource concierged by an engaging and supportive conversational VH agent. Human-centered design is essential in the development of all interactions focused on the persuasive strategies of (1) personalization, (2) self-monitoring, (3) tunneling, (4) suggestion, and (5) expertise. Veterans can interact with the BB VH during daily check-ins, learn about mental health and wellness strategies, participate in interactive activities, increase self-awareness of their current status, and build and work safety plans in times of suicidal crisis. BB is designed to provide the Veteran with easy access to a suicide prevention ecosystem in which a wealth of evidenced-based interventions will be delivered in a non-stigmatizing fashion by a computer-based dialogue system with virtual embodiment, utilizing various multi-modal language cues such as text, speech, animated facial expressions, and gestures to interact with users. This paper explores our human-centered design process for the BB feature set to target the negative effects of social isolation and loneliness, conditions that challenge Veteran healthcare and suicide prevention.

Keywords: Virtual Human, Persuasive Technology, mHealth, Suicide, human-centered design

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1004118

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