The South Sudanese Young Ambassadors Project gives opportunity to a young person from the South Sudanese community in Sydney to work with researchers at the fEEL lab to develop a creative engagement tool to facilitate awareness of mental health issues and reduce the risk of suicidality within the community. The aim of the project is to develop a ‘bottom-up’, community-oriented approach to facilitate understanding the lived experience of the individuals and community around mental health issues, and to help address the issues successfully. 

The project comprises two phases. 

Phase one begins with an orientation of a young South Sudanese community member to the fEEL lab and its activities followed by a series of 5 workshops on:

  • The needs and expectations of the community 
  • South Sudanese Idioms of Distress
  • Exploring Creative Ways of Engaging the Community
  • Developing Skills of Engagement
  • Developing a plan for coming up with a functioning prototype of a media tool that can help young people in the South Sudanese community express and address their mental health issues, including suicidality.

Phase two comprises of:

  • Iterative development and design of the prototype: a media tool to be used by the community (working with immersive media and VR experts).
  • Testing the prototype.

Evaluation of the Project

Since the project is developed iteratively using co-design approaches, it requires ongoing formative evaluation and key milestone summative evaluation. The milestones include:

  • Groundwork: lived experience of South Sudanese young people in Sydney
  • Involvement in 5 three-hour workshops exploring the range of immersive media projects at fEEL lab
  • Research on the specific mental health issues among young South Sudanese community members, and the risk of suicidality.
  • Media tool development, including user experience
  • Impact on quality of life, behaviours (using interviews and workshops).