Our main aim when we were designing the product was to produce something that would actually be of use to those trying to it. We recognised that it can be difficult to know how to actually reduce stress and simple and effective ways of doing this. We wanted to give people tips and advice on ways that they could help themselves to reduce stress and become more relaxed. We knew that we wanted to incorporate art into it because it was accessible to all and made the product something you would want to use (aesthetically pleasing). We also wanted to make it easy to follow and something that could be used multiple times so the person could keep coming back to. We originally planned on printing physical copies of the book to give to our participants which they could test this over time before filling in a questionnaire on how they felt about it. Due to Covid-19 we initially launched the book online to make is accessible to more people of a wider age range. We are piloting paperback copies books of the book in our school, with participants keeping their book afterwards.
When we were brainstorming ideas on how to use the Project Soothe images, we initially came up with the ideas of a jigsaw, music playlist and a book. The jigsaw would be based on a soothing image and would allow students to sit quietly and complete a stress free task. The playlist was a list of songs we thought would be calming for students to listen to. We thought about including songs that you can listen to - to soothe yourself and reduce stress - while also using the Project Soothe images. Our final idea was to create a 40 page illustrated book about a character named Bea who goes through a series of tasks to reduce stress which the reader can also take part in. Examples of the activities include cooking, doing yoga, looking at soothing images and listening to soothing songs. We have designed the book for the user to be able to pick it up at any time for a chance to try an activity to reduce their stress levels.
One of the issues with our music playlist was that we were unable to use the songs we had chosen due to copyright issues. The jigsaw was limited to being in one location and was just one task as well as only using one picture. We were worried about the cost of producing it as well. One of the biggest challenges with the book was time constraints as the S6 pupils involved were also juggling university applications and exam revision. Covid also played a significant role as all meetings then had to be online and we couldn't meet in person to make changes and discuss the tasks.
To recruit participants to take part in the evaluation of the effectiveness of the book we have created two versions of the book, one online book on the Project Soothe website and one as a printed copy. For the online copy of the book we created an online questionnaire that goes with the book to get participants' views on how much they think the book has helped them in different situations. By producing an online copy of the book that is open to anyone from the general public to use, we have increased our number of participants that are evaluating the effectiveness of the tool that we have produced and we have also increased the variety of the backgrounds participants come from. This is useful as the more participant feedback we have the more reliable our evaluation of the book will be. For the printed copy of the book we are planning to recruit participants from our school to test it out. To recruit pupils we plan on the year heads sending a message out through emails, google classroom and year meetings. By having the printed copy we can also focus on teenage mental health in particular and the effect of the book as well as comparing results between the printed and online books.