About the Personas

The eleven NYC Well personas are aggregate characters that represent needs and qualities we heard from many different real people during research.


Personas are not the same as demographic market segments. Instead, personas capture the goals and preferences of clusters of users, particularly related to the different 'jobs to be done' that motivate users of NYC Well's services.

The NYC Well personas represent an intentionally divergent set of potential service users, from New Yorkers simply seeking a referral or short-term assistance, to residents with significant ongoing mental health issues or people in crisis.

Designers use personas as tools to generate new ideas. The design term for this is ideation. Personas can help MHA or City product or service owners quickly come up with lots of different ideas for assisting many different kinds of potential NYC Well ‘customers.'

Personas can be particularly helpful for staff members who may not work every day with New Yorkers seeking care, but who are responsible for creating processes and products that directly serve them. Personas help product owners keep NYC Well users' preferences in mind and check that MHA and City actions are meeting New Yorkers' real needs.



What's on Each Persona Card?


The front of each card conveys personal qualities of the persona.

1. Persona Name: We've invented a name for each of our 11 aggregate persona characters. (Remember, however, that every NYC Well persona combines characteristics and needs expressed by multiple research participants.)

2. Persona User Profile: Every persona has a user profile, describing the cluster of NYC Well users they belong to (individuals seeking care, friends/family of people needing care, or service providers) and what NYC Well service they're accessing (referral, support, or crisis services).

3. Persona Personal Characteristics: A key function of personas is to help product owners design for users with different capabilities and circumstances. To that end, each persona represents just one example of New Yorkers' broad range of demographic characteristics and literacy skills. Tool users should imagine how different characteristics might affect service use. 

4. Persona Narrative: It's often helpful for product owners to imagine a detailed user narrative when seeking to explore the preferences of potential users. We provide one narrative for each persona, but tool users can certainly construct different narratives using the same persona characteristics.


The back of each card focuses on aspects of the persona as a user of NYC Well.

5. Persona Type: Our 11 personas represent five major types of NYC Well user: Just the Facts (high-capability users seeking referral), Back-Up Plan (users with a short-term care need), Phone a Friend (users seeking emotional support), Save Me Now (users with a crisis situation), and What's My Deal (users needing an assessment of mental-health need). 

6. Job Goal: Each persona type is associated with a statement about the 'job to be done' that the persona is trying to complete with NYC Well. 

7. NYC Well User Qualities: These sliders describe how strongly a given persona relates to five key aspects of NYC Well usage. 

8. Preferred Channels: Finally, we describe which of NYC Well's potential channels—phone, text, live chat, or web search—are best able to respond to the persona's needs.


Are you designing services for mental health? Download the personas or learn more about using the tools.