Leveraging Nudges to Improve Mental Health in At-Risk Individuals

Case Study

Context

A growing body of literature has shown that mental health issues among National Guard members are a serious issue – one that is often caused by the challenges that members face and are exacerbated by a culture of silence as well as possible career effects of revealing the issues. As suicides have reached epidemic proportions in the Guard, it is critical to understand the intricate system of beliefs and values that stops at-risk individuals from seeking help.

Approach

In working with the National Guard, The Decision Lab started with a thorough literature review of the topic. Although there is a wealth of information on the predictors of suicide in the National Guard, our unique approach combined insights from the mental health space with those from the behavior change literature in order to create a model explaining what factors can push someone to get help in one situation but keep them silent in another. We found several factors to be particularly predictive of help-seeking behavior and designed a series of interventions that take advantage of these findings in the real world.