SOVA would not be where it is without our stakeholders! We knew from the start that user design is important to designing the SOVA websites. We did not realize how important it would be to really every step in the research process. Depression and anxiety are such an individual experience that affect so many people – adolescents, young adults, teachers, counselors, therapists, parents, religious figures, medical providers… the list goes on and on. With 1 in 5 of us experiencing mental illness, we know in some way – whether us or a loved one – it affects us all. The more we listen to others, the more likely we are to develop an intervention that meets the needs of adolescents and their parents.
They provide us with a context, take us out of our “research world,” and challenge us with real life questions, forcing us to grow!
We have many stakeholders but our core team consists of the SOVA advisory board. Advisory board members consist of adolescents and adults who have an interest in advocating for adolescents with symptoms of depression or anxiety. Maybe they have experienced it, their children have, or they take care of others through their careers or community advocacy who experience depression or anxiety. Our SOVA advisory board meets about 4 times a year. In between meetings, individuals may take on individual projects as well, but that is not mandatory. In the past, our advisory board has helped give us vital feedback about our website design, provided connections to community organizations, and about how we can reach out to new users. They provide us with a context, take us out of our “research world,” and challenge us with real life questions, forcing us to grow!