Design student’s mental health app wins creativity award

Victoria University of Wellington student Vinaya Tawde is using the skills gained from her Master of Fine Arts in Design to create an app to help improve children’s mental health and in doing so has won a coveted Creativity Award at the 2019 Wellington International Student Excellence Awards.

Vinaya Tawde accepts her award from Paul Eagle MP during the Awards Ceremony in the Great Hall, Parliament Buildings
Vinaya Tawde accepts her award from Paul Eagle MP during the Awards Ceremony in the Great Hall, Parliament Buildings.

Vinaya’s app aims to help children with Asperger’s syndrome. The app is made up of a series of mini games which children can play to improve their mood and elevate their general wellbeing.

“It is essentially a support tool for clinical therapy,” Vinaya says. “I believe it will benefit many children across New Zealand.”

The next step is to begin conducting usability tests with clinicians and therapists throughout the country.

Vinaya says studying for her Master’s allows her to continue to develop her design skills and better contribute to society.  She is currently working as a product designer for Melon Health, a digital service company focused on improving mental health.

“Victoria University of Wellington gives me plenty of flexibility in terms of pursuing my Master’s degree. I am also very fortunate to have Dana Fridman as my primary supervisor because she has extensive experience in design for health and education.”

After completing her Master of Fine Arts, Vinaya intends to undertake a PhD in Design at Wellington.

“Being a young designer, I have witnessed that when design meets technology, it holds the power to change the world.”