The holidays may technically be over, but that’s just on paper. If you ask me, we’re not really back to business as usual until everyone’s brain stops feeling like sludge and we all remember what our “jobs” entail, and I, for one, am not there yet.
Now that we’ve established that it’s basically still the holidays, we can also agree that it is still more or less acceptable to be sending out our “Year in Review” email. Because if we’re honest, December was really busy (heck, 2022 was really busy) and we simply didn’t get around to it. But we think we did a lot of stuff that’s worth sharing last year — some of our biggest projects to date. In today’s newsletter, we’re doing a little bit of humble bragging about them.
We hope you’re having a great start to 2023.
Until next time,
Katie and the still-jolly team @ TDL
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HEAD IN THE CLOUD
🧠 The Future of Digital Mental Health
It goes without saying that these past couple of years have been challenging. Mental health and substance use difficulties have risen sharply since 2020, and our mental healthcare systems are feeling the strain. Digital mental health is one of the most promising frontiers for meeting the increased demand for care.
TDL partnered with Kids Help Phone, Canada’s foremost provider of youth mental health support, to bring a more empowering, personalized user journey to their online platform. In our ongoing engagement with Wellness Together Canada (WTC), a Health Canada–funded mental health platform, we played a key role in the launch of the free PocketWell app, and we continue to lead an extensive co-design process with thousands of participants from across Canada. Our work on these 2 projects alone has impacted millions of Canadians, and is helping to connect historically marginalized groups with crucial mental health & substance use care.
Our efforts in the digital mental health space also went beyond Canadian borders. In partnership with Distell, a multinational brewing company based in South Africa, we developed and piloted a community-based program to help reduce binge drinking. In its first pilot, Better Together participants’ alcohol consumption fell by 66%, an astounding success.
Finally, we partnered with UC Berkeley, one of the world’s top public universities, to help them evolve their mental health support system, revamping their online resources and better integrating them with in-person support. Our work will ensure that Berkeley’s community of more than 40,000 students and faculty will have frictionless access to high-quality care, at the moments when they need it most.
A HEALTHY DOSE OF BEHSCI
🫁 BehSci and Public Health
In line with our work in digital mental health, 2022 saw us take on a lot of projects in the health and wellness space. In one of our biggest projects ever, we joined forces with one of the world’s biggest fast-food chains to help nudge parents & kids towards healthier menu options. Our interventions boosted healthy ordering by up to 40% — numbers that could make a huge difference for the millions of families who eat at the chain’s restaurants every day.
Back here in Canada, we partnered with the Canadian Cancer Society to tackle one of the trickiest behavioral problems in health care: smoking cessation. It’s notoriously hard to quit smoking, but the health costs are huge: it’s estimated that half of Canada’s 3 million smokers will die of smoking-related illness. With the combined powers of behavioral science and machine learning, we designed an SMS-based program to support participants through the quitting process, identifying & targeting the behavioral barriers they struggle with the most.
TDL also collaborated with Health Canada to support more engagement of people with lived experience (PWLE) in health research. PWLE have a unique lens on how we can best address public health challenges, but it’s important that researchers engage with them in a way that feels empowering, safe, and meaningful. We developed a set of evidence-based recommendations to help ensure that researchers have the knowledge and resources they need to engage the community in their work.
🎒 Closing Learning Gaps in the U.S.
TDL has a long-running partnership with the Gates Foundation. We’ve been working with them to understand how stakeholders in the education system make decisions — and how these decision-making processes can contribute to learning gaps and student inequity.
This project was a massive undertaking: we interviewed more than 500 school district representatives from across the U.S. and mapped out their decision-making journeys from start to finish. The framework we developed is being translated into an online toolkit that educators across the country will be able to use to find the best materials for their schools, potentially impacting millions of students.
TDL Consultant Jayden Rae and Consulting Director Marielle Montenegro at the 2022 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.
Opportunities in behaviour science
TDL is hiring! We’re hiring for a number of positions, both remote and based in our Montreal office. Some open roles include: