Accepted paper:

When co-creation of citizen science drives empowerment: an example from the mental health community


Anna Cigarini (Universitat de Barcelona)
Josep Perelló (Universitat de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

A collaborative exercise of co-creation in citizen science practices can encourage in-community mental health care promotion and provision. The effort results into a collective experiment which creates the right data to respond to specific community concerns through games on digital platforms.

Paper long abstract:

The need for community engagement in mental health promotion and care provision has been widely acknowledged. Yet, the participation of communities in evidence-based policy making is still underdeveloped. In a collaborative attempt to test the ability of citizen science practices to contribute to public decision making processes, we aligned the interests of different actors of the mental health ecosystem (affected, caregivers, relatives, professionals) to prove the potential of communities for effective mental health care. We co-created a collective experiment with and for the mental health community to explore key aspects of the mental health recovery process through games on digital platforms and social dilemma paradigms. The co-creation process counted on the efforts of representatives of the mental health ecosystem via their systemic involvement in all research phases. 270 volunteers took part in the final experiment run over 48 sessions all around Catalunya. This collaborative exercise allowed to raise and address true and shared concerns, unveiling the different ontologies of the social dynamics at play within the collective. Referring to an ecosystem when we dialogue about mental health allowed us to frame its complex interdependencies while encouraging narratives of community care. Citizen science in its "extreme" level of engagement can drive the co-production of socially robust knowledge on how virtuous cycles of inclusion might be encouraged in a 'care in the community' framework, thus promoting facts-based policies in a participatory way. Quantitative account of social interactions in a mental health care ecosystem: cooperation, trust and collective action. Scientific Reports, in press.

panel C22
Citizen science: active citizenship vs. data commodification