We’ve all been there. Click on photos to reveal the teens we once were.
Tara Cousineau, PhD
Clinical Psychologist, CEO
“I felt my best self when I danced as a child. Mojo for me is to dance like no one is watching.”
I’ve always been passionate about helping kids, having been a misunderstood and awkward one myself. Chaotic life circumstances led me to help young people who suffer from stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and poor self-image. They also led me to find innovative ways to harness practices in mental health known to have a positive impact; such as empathy, connection and storytelling. And somehow – watching a new generation of kids grow up in the digital world – I became a techie in mental health.
I’m raising two girls and times have really changed for kids. It’s a hyper-connected, high performance culture. The pressures today are huge: bullying, suicides, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, poor body image, unhealthy lifestyle habits and poor sleep, to name a few. Teens are consumed with worries about school, grades, college and futures. It’s like our teens are forgetting how to relax, play, and be still because they are compelled to outperform themselves and each other.
We are raising a stressed out and unhealthy generation of young people.
When we received NIH innovation funding to build and test the BodiMojo app, we thought, “Here’s our chance to reach teenagers in the very medium they connect in: their mobile phones.” We can interrupt their busy lives with bite size messages and small manageable skills – short enough to pay attention to, engaging enough to play with every day and meaningful enough to practice in real life.
Liz Donovan, PhD
Director of Research & Evaluation
“The real me shines when I am lost in the moment … when I am laughing out loud with a good friend and experiencing joy with someone I care about.”
We are really excited about what’s happening in the field of adolescent health, too. The research on the teen brain has exploded with insights and understandings – on just how vulnerable and wonderful teenagers really are. They have so much potential and yet, face so many risks at a time when cognitive, emotional, and social integration is taking shape. In spite of all the advances in childhood health with early prevention and vaccines, the least progress has been seen in teen health, according to national and global experts. We���������������������d like to change that.
Samantha Burns, MA
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
“To me, mojo is to shine with confidence. My mojo helps me stay active to connect, feel balanced and to accomplish my goals.”
Teenagers face unique challenges and need specialized approaches in health care. Why? Because most of the health risks they face are behavioral.
This is the time to help teenagers build the skill sets for emotional and social intelligence, to help them manage stress and motivate them to make healthy choices that will stick. We come from a mind-body medicine perspective. What’s amazing now is that the research has caught up to the methods and skills we live and breathe in our work: mindfulness, self-compassion, and practices that build resilience and self-confidence. The timing is perfect.
VP of Technology an Development
“Taking time to chill, play and just hang is how I reconnect with what’s important to me.”
We found it so fascinating that in our work with teenagers two things always stood out: (1) They loved the Mojo Mood Cloud®, a visual portrayal of their many feeling states. It is natural to have many feelings all at once. (2) Teens also loved the little mojo mascots. We couldn’t figure out why at first. We thought it was a bit “childish” and felt we could do something much more trendy or fashionable. Then a professor at Bentley University’s User Experience and Design Center revealed a neat fact from the field of human factors research: the first geometric image that infants impress upon in their brains is a circle with two large dots! A human face. It’s timeless. It made so much sense!
We are on a mission to work with health organizations, pediatric groups and youth development organizations to support their young people with our innovation. Work with us. Bring BodiMojo to your kids… and see results!
We couldn’t have done this work without the help of our advisors, research partners, and teenagers at Artists For Humanity.
Research Partners and Expert Advisors
Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Debra Franko, PhD
Rachel Rodgers, PhD
Expert Advisory Group
Susan Pollak, EdD
Martin LaRoche, PhD
Christopher Willard, PsyD
Hillary Wright, RD
Trapper Marklez, Head of Product, MeYouHealth
John Torres, Designer
Leslie Caulfield, Producer
Kayla McGowan, Emerson College, Health Communications (Master’s Program)
Stephanie Luk, Northeastern University, Counseling (Master’s Program)
Jhanev Allen, Pennsylvania State University, Psychology (Graduate)
Special Thanks to:
Human Factors and Information Design Program, Bentley University
Students in Field Methods and User Experience Research class, Spring 2014
Meena Kothandaraman, MS, Lecturer
Artists For Humanity, Boston, MA
Our Teen Advisory Group, 2014
Richard Frank, Marketing Director
Riz Productions, Los Angeles, CA
Carmen Rizzo, Producer
Rebecca Dash and Delonte Drumgold, Voice Students at Berklee College of Music