As part of the research project "D.O.T. - Die offene Tür" (D.O.T. - The Open Door), interactive measures are being developed and implemented in a playful way to promote the social solidarity of children in difficult life situations. Which measures can support children of mentally ill parents in their personal development and integration into their social environment? An international and interdisciplinary research group - founded by the Ludwig Boltzmann Society (LBG) in cooperation with the Karl Landsteiner Private University for Health Sciences (KL) - is dedicated to this central question of mental health care.
As part of the "D.O.T. - Die offene Tür" project, the team led by Beate Schrank, psychiatrist and senior physician at KL's Tulln University Hospital, is working on measures for the positive social integration of the affected children between the ages of nine and twelve. In a participatory process with representatives from schools, patient organisations, clinics, therapy and counselling centres and the Province of Lower Austria, the researchers develop innovative measures to promote important social skills in children and to destigmatise mental illnesses. With the help of school programmes together with digital, interactive games, the development of social networks is to be promoted for the affected children and the transition from primary school to secondary school is to be accompanied.
The research group, which has established itself as part of the LBG's Open Innovation in Science initiative, is based at the KL as the coordinating institution. In January 2018, it began its work as a model region in Lower Austria. The total volume for the project duration of four years is three million euros, which come from the Austrian National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development and the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and the Economy.
D.O.T. is a four-year research project to strengthen the social bonds between young people. We need good relationships with our fellow human beings in order to be healthy and happy. In times of change such relationships can get lost, for example in the transition from primary to secondary school, especially when young people are confronted with challenges elsewhere. In D.O.T. we try to understand what influences social connectedness and how we can best help young people to get the support from their peers they need.
Together with young people - and with all those who support them - we will develop a unique new online platform to help young people develop the skills they need to develop well in their social environment. The platform is supported by a school programme on the topic of social well-being. The individualised learning offered online will be made possible by a range of digital experiences - innovative games and interactive media - enriched by real-time interaction with other young people in similar situations.
- Work with experts to ensure that we start our work from the best possible position.
- Involve young people directly in all work steps to ensure that what we develop is right for them.
- Use the practical experience of young people in the use of technology to create a system they like to use.
- Use intelligent technology to tailor each person's learning experience to their individual needs.
- Work with adult stakeholders to ensure that young people are protected in the online space.
- Test the programme with young users to assess its effectiveness.
Adam Barnard - Theatre director, screenwriter, filmmaker, journalist / Great Britain
Joao Dias - Assistant Professor at IST, University of Lisbon, Senior Researcher at INESC-ID / Portugal
Anna-Lena Mädge - Network & Stakeholder Coordination, D.O.T. Research Group / Austria
Marija Mitic - Research associate at LBG / Austria
Sally Reynolds - Researcher at the University of Birmingham / Great Britain
Tamara Rumpold - Research associate at LBG / Austria
Louise Seidl - Research Associate at LBG / Austria
Beate Schrank - Head of the D.O.T. Research Group / Austria
Ina Stacher - Research associate at LBG / Austria
Kate Woodcock - Lecturer at the University of Birmingham / Great Britain
Pedro Rodrigues - Researcher at INESC-ID / Portugal
Diogo Martins - Researcher at INESC-ID / Portugal
Michael Mühlegger - Research Associate at LBG / Austria