A pill can cure a headache, but what can cure social problems? Visible wounds can be seen and cured, but what about the invisible ones? This is comparable to our society that needs to be examined, internally, to see its conditions.
In Thailand Policy Lab’s Youth Mental Health Policy Hackathon, there was an ‘X-ray the Problem’ activity that invited participants to examine the root causes of problems in order to create sustainable policies that can cure social ills, especially mental health deterioration that has been eating up the Thai youth and has been worsen by the pandemic with online studying, unstable family’s income, or even the lack of personal space at home.
To x-ray such a problem one needs no machine, collective power among stakeholders is sufficient, starting from organizing your line of thought:
What do you deem a problem? > Who are the stakeholders? > Where does this problem occur? > What are the differences of policies in each social context? > What problem do you need to prioritize? > Who has the resources? > To solve the problem, who should be the kickstarter?
Srirath Chunnasart, Adolescent Development Specialist from UNICEF, gave an example of the bullying issue that has affected youth’s mental health. If the problem is x-rayed, it can be seen that bullying happens in both offline and online space hence the stakeholders are not only the Department of Mental Health and the Ministry of Education but also the private entities who are the owners of online platforms. To solve this, we need everyone to collaborate.
An efficient policy is always a coordinated and creative one.
After the root causes have been x-rayed, you will be able to see a number of entry points towards solutions since one issue often cross-cuts the other. For instance, you can contact the stakeholders who have the authority to adopt and implement the policy, you can engage with the public and communities, you can design services based on user experience and research, or you can even come up with guidelines for all related agencies in case there has never been one before. In a fast-paced world, policymaking process should not always be in order but flexible, creative and agile.
Modern policymakers need to have the 21st century skill which is ‘resilience.’ Policymakers should seek new and creative solutions and work with everyone horizontally rather than top-down. Policymakers should make use of the limited time and utilise the lessons learned to improve policymaking.