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Happier Hippos - Solving Mental Health & Depression With Design

On the 20th October, Pete Trainor from Nexus CX presented an approach to tackling mental health issues called "Hippo" at the British Museum in London. Hippo represents the first significant attempt to bake in proactive treatment of mental illnesses into the design of everyday digital services.

There exists a number of apps available on phones for monitoring and suggesting solutions for depression, but the efficacy of these services varies greatly & often falls short of creating the habits required to successfully treat the conditions they set out to address. Nexus have taken a different approach - "What if intervention could exist in the things people already do?".

The hippocampus - the “HIPPO” - is a small area located within the brain's limbic system. The Hippo is involved in the formation of new memories and is associated with learning and emotions. It also plays a major role in declarative memory, the type of memory involving things that can be purposely recalled, such as facts or events. Studies have also shown a direct link between shrinkage in the hippocampus and depression.

Our research indicates that stimulating the growth of the hippo using certain types of interactions and specifically designed, non-linear tasks, is a promising approach to treating and perhaps even preventing mental illness.

Baking in these principles into the kind of apps and services that people use habitually everyday is a groundbreaking approach for treating mental health.

For further information about the Hippo Framework and details of where it's being used and targeted please contact;

Pete Trainor, CEO & Director of Human Centred Design
Nexus CX Ltd
07968 718108