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Co-Designing a Web-Based Decision Aid Tool for Employees Disclosure of Mental Health Conditions: A Participatory Study Design Using Employee and Organizational Preferences.

PMID: 33155982 (view PubMed database entry)
DOI: 10.2196/23337 (read at publisher's website )
PMCID: PMC7679208 (free full text version available)

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Elizabeth Stratton, Isabella Choi, Dorian Peters, Rafael A Calvo, Samuel B Harvey, Nicholas Glozier,

<h4>Background</h4>Decisions of whether to disclose mental health conditions are extremely personal and require the consideration of multiple factors associated with the disclosure process (eg, weighing the risks and benefits). Decision aid tools help people make these complex decisions. Such an aid needs to be confidential, easily accessible, and easy to use with the potential to access the tool on multiple occasions. Web programs are well suited to meet these requirements and, if properly developed, can provide feasible, accessible, affordable, and effective workplace interventions.<h4>Objective</h4>This study aims to gain insights from potential end users, in this case both employees and organizations, into what type of components including language, style, and content would avoid potential stigma and ensure that elements of clear value for users would be built into a web-based decision aid tool that aims to assist employees in making decisions about the disclosure of their mental health condition at work.<h4>Methods</h4>A participatory design approach was used to allow developers, researchers, experts, and end users to collaborate in co-designing the tool. During the user research phase of the development of the web-based tool, a participatory design workshop approach was selected as a part of a larger study of focus groups. Australian employees and managers in rural, suburban, and urban locations participated in an exploratory qualitative study involving participatory workshops designed to elicit their perspectives and preferences for a decision aid tool.<h4>Results</h4>A total of 2 workshops were conducted with 13 participants. The majority were from a transport company (9/13, 69%), male (8/13, 62%), and employed full time (11/13, 85%). Six employees had previous experience disclosing their own mental health condition, and 7 were in a supervisory role and had previously been disclosed to. In any co-design development, there are certain trade-offs that need to be made between the views of experts, developers, end users, and the available budget. In this specific instance of a very delicate, personal decision, the end users provided valuable design insights into key areas such as language, and they were very antipathetic to a key feature, the avatar, which was thought to be desirable by experts and developers. Findings including aspects of the tool where all stakeholders were in agreement, aspects where some stakeholders disagreed and adaptations were implemented, where disagreements could not be implemented because of financial constraints, and misalignment between stakeholders and how to decide on a balance were shared.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The co-design with a lived experience approach is useful for contributing much to the design, language, and features. The key in this study was balancing the needs of the workers and the potential impact for the managers and organizations, while ensuring legislation and regulation requirements were upheld.

JMIR Form Res (JMIR formative research)
[2020, 4(11):e23337]

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