In the short time frame of an 8-week project, we were not able to receive contracts from the NHS which would enable us to talk to service users. Therefore our research had to take a more informal approach, using internal staff, experts in other addiction treatment services, and academics/ researchers within the field of gambling addiction. We were able to spend some time in betting shops interacting with the young people there, however understandably many of the shops were not comfortable with our presence.
The National Problem Gambling Clinic (NPGC) is a South West London based clinic treating problem gamblers free of charge. They approached us with the brief of improving engagement with young people aged 18-24. The two main issues were firstly very few young people where engaged in the service (while statistics show this is not due to a lack of addiction in this age range) and secondly that this age group has the highest rate of non-attendance.
Hap is a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy app. The digitalised CBT allows users to follow treatment at a pace that suits them which emphasises the idea that the user is in control of their treatment. Hap eliminates waiting times as treatment can begin right after an assessment which responds to a much more immediate culture and furthermore the mobile format allows users to access the CBT treatment whenever they need it most - responding to the insight that addiction desires fluctuate and the current treatment is not agile enough to accommodate for this.
As part of our design process we developed a series of prototypes to engage NPGC with the process and to serve as conversation starters with young problem gamblers while visiting betting shops.