A Limitless impact story from Colombia
We saw the Solferino Academy’s call for stories just at the time when we were thinking about what our new ways of working with the community would look like.
We were analysing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and exploring how we could work in a safe and secure way to help children and adolescents, a vulnerable group particularly hard hit by the mental health impact of factors such as social isolation, the loss of family members, the interruption of education and the virtualization of everyday life.
So, we asked ourselves what we could do differently to make an impact, and it was here that the idea of DOMPI was born from the synergy between innovation, technology, public health and the quest to continue building ever stronger communities free from violence and capable of cultivating emotional, physical and family wellbeing.
DOMPI arose from the dream of creating a virtual space for mental health, led by people trained in psychosocial care and specialized in children and adolescents and their needs and wellbeing. The aim is to help children and adolescents in our communities deal with their emotions and adopt healthy lifestyles. This includes helping them to protect their physical and mental health, put their feelings into words and interact with their peers so that they can engage with others experiencing similar situations and anxieties as a way to prevent the consequences that mental illness can have.
It was from here that the idea grew. We were prompted to submit our application to the Solferino Academy by the far-reaching vision of the members of our multidisciplinary team, each from the perspective of their own field of expertise, and their determination to provide support at a time when the new generations are suffering a different kind of malaise and expressing it differently.
We took part in the innovation workshops and put what we had learned into practice, strengthening and honing our idea. We completed each stage of the process and followed every one of the recommendations from our mentor to move our dream forward and turn it into a goal. This is how DOMPI was developed as an innovation strategy to protect, educate and create networks for our children and adolescents. It will undoubtedly open doors to help other people who have also suffered the emotional and intangible effects of COVID-19.
We thought that one of the ways to make an impact and protect the mental health of children and adolescents is to implement a support process with a range of activities involving games and challenges for them to do. As already mentioned, this interaction among peers can lead to the creation of online support networks. DOMPI is much more than a virtual avatar; it is also the materialization of a person with the skills required to interact with our target population, and this will enable us to identify risk situations requiring specialized support. What is so innovative about our strategy is the element of humanity and caring in a process that is of paramount importance today in protecting health, given the far-reaching effects of COVID-19.
With DOMPI, we want to have an impact on reducing the risk of children and adolescents experiencing mental health issues while at the same time engaging them through their interests in a comprehensive approach to promote healthy living.
Taking into account the scale of the project, we are currently at the stage of working with professionals to develop the platform, sounding out potential sponsors and preparing the protocols to be implemented in the approach by the professionals.
Our next steps will be to set up the platform and pilot the project.