Shelby Hagemann, Morgan Vigil-Hayes, Ann Collier
Northern Arizona University, School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber-Systems
Despite Native American communities having high rates of childhood suicide and psychiatric disorders in comparison to the rest of America, they face a deficiency in behavioral and mental health treatment opportunities. We are developing ARORA, a behavioral health mobile app that helps Native youths develop emotional resilience and healthy coping skills for stress and general mental illness. We have conducted a literary analysis of previous studies on Human-Computer Interaction regarding behavioral health and held focus groups testing ARORA's effectiveness.
Our team used a community-participatory design to create ARORA. We created a community advisory board, consisting of members of the Native American community. The advisory board gave our team advice on how to tailor ARORA to Native adolescents. We also used grounded theory in designing ARORA. This entailed developing a theory based on evidence and data obtained from comparative analysis. We recruited participants for this study through the community advisory board. There were ten total participants, representing Navajo, Lakota, and unspecified Native American tribes. During the focus groups, we had participants test out ARORA and answer questions on their experiences with it.
We found that several of the activities in ARORA are effective in reducing stress and anxiety among its users. We found that behavioral health apps best reduce stress and anxiety in Native American youth when they distract them from the "real world.” Immersive activities in ARORA were the most effective in alleviating stress and anxiety. Several members of our focus groups expressed that the app should center more around Native American culture. They gave many suggestions for how their culture could be integrated into ARORA. Several of these suggestions involved adding more Native themes to the app's design.