Texas State’s Design for America team tackles the stigma of mental health

Allison Johnson | May 8, 2019

female student standing next to presentation
Hope Stephens, junior communication design student, has researched innovation solutions for the mental health needs of San Marcos High School students.

Texas State University’s Design for America (DFA) team hosted an expo on May 1, 2019 to present research and innovation solutions for the mental health needs of San Marcos High School students. 

The Texas State chapter is part of DFA’s national network, which is committed to design, innovation, entrepreneurship and the capacity to make change.  Hope Stephens, junior communication design student, said her team chose mental health as a topic because everyone has memories of what they dealt with in high school.

The national Design for America team did not conduct research directly with students, but they worked with community partners who spoke directly to the students. Partners included: The Boys & Girls Club, Greater San Marcos Youth Council and San Marcos High School counselors. The DFA team learned that the three leading issues causing San Marcos High School students to feel left out were lack of community, transportation and communication.

The DFA team is looking at more than tackling stigma. Team members have created a five-step process to classify and present solutions to the main issues causing stress to local high school students: identify, immerse, reframe, ideate and build. They have made it their core goal to help students access mental health resources and opportunities. 

The DFA team’s latest prototype is a “pop-up event bus.” Outreach team lead Samantha Stine said that a bus would pick up students and take them to visit libraries, parks and other destinations. The bus would be loaded with games and would take students out into the community to see live music and participate in fitness activities such as yoga. These activities would bridge a gap between communication, community and transportation. 

The DFA team plans to continue working on solutions for the San Marcos youth next semester.

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For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922