Resiliency at Work (R@W)

By and for young people

Project period



The Research Council of Norway #269438


Alarmingly, young people with mild or moderate mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression constitute the fastest growing group on welfare benefits in Norway. Since several of these conditions worsen with inactivity and social isolation, school dropout and/or early phases of sick leave due to poor mental health are increasingly characterized as ‘disability traps’ that are hard to reverse. Only 65% of youth with minority backgrounds are in schooling or employed compared to 86% of ethnic Norwegian youth.

Our proposed cross-sector innovation Resiliency at Work (R@W) targets youth at risk before sector-specific labels — diagnosis/health, unemployment/NAV, drop-out/school—take hold, or at least immediately thereafter. We merge state-of-the-art e-health research and tools with the non-profit programs Catalysts and Fretex to support three youth groups; minorities, unaccompanied refugee minors and ethnic Norwegians. R@W combines three components in a secure virtual environment: mentoring, peer-support, and a tailorable self-help toolbox. R@W; 1) incorporates e-health, Appreciative Inquiry, and resiliency research into its content and functionality, 2) applies emerging technology and design approaches (e.g., positive computing, persuasive technology, gamification) that can boost user engagement and learning, 3) facilitates links to community, and 4) explores models whereby young people themselves can increase the scalability of R@W as a social entrepreneurship initiative within the broader community. Our long-term aim is to show that programs designed to promote skills and employment among at-risk youth are more effective when augmented with R@W than when they are not.

This 3-year project is led by Center for Shared Decision-Making and Collaboration Research (CSDM) at Oslo University Hospital. Partners include Catalysts, Fretex, Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV), Norwegian Center for eHealth Research, and Halmstad University, Sweden.

Primary and secondary objectives

Our primary objective is an ICT-organisational platform that contributes to an increase in self-esteem, skills and employment among at-risk youth. To achieve this, four work packages (WP) with secondary objectives and respective research questions (RQs) are conducted:

1) Develop an ICT-facilitated mentoring model that enhances the value of mentoring for at-risk young people and their mentors.

2) Develop a tailorable 'toolbox' of resources integrated in the R@W platform that engage youth in building skills and self-esteem and that can provide a sense of progression towards healthy community attachments.

3) Create a peer-to-peer support arena that young people find safe, engaging and that mobilizes their own resources socially both online and offline.

4) Pilot test to assess the potentials and pitfalls of the combined R@W platform for 6 months in terms of reach, feasibility, acceptability and implementation, also as a social entrepreneurship by and for young people.


  • Lisa Cooper

    Leader of Catalysts, Leadership Foundation

  • Even Hallgren

    Project manager, Fretex Øst-Norge AS

  • Kristin Vold Hjerpås

    Consultant, Directorate of Labour and Welfare (NAV)

  • Petra Svedberg

    Research partner, Halmstad University

  • Jens Nygren

    Research partner, Halmstad University