Shalhavit-Simcha Cohen

Thesis title: Developing Effective Multimedia for Wellness Education

Research summary

Developing Effective Multimedia For Wellness Education

Current research interests

I aim to bridge the divide between academia and society by teaming up with young people to repackage content on coping skills research and positive psychology into digital format, such as video and multimedia. My current PhD thesis seeks to make research based mental health coping skills more accessible with the use of documentary video weaved into an electronic music video style. Together with young adults we re-package academic research on Mental Wellness into accessible formats such as music-videos/performances to be shared with their peers. Focus groups consisting of our target audience will help produce such educational multimedia on mental resiliency, and the online arena will be a vessel to effectively reach this audience in a safe space, away from the stigma. We would like to develop interactive elements to positively impact perception and lead to behaviour change. Co-creating of materials of their liking, with our adolescent focus group, will hopefully incentivise them to share with their peers and potentially reach adolescents online all over the world.

Past research interests

Shalhavit-Simcha Cohen is a Passionate Multimedia Educator, Instructional Designer,and musician, who works on creative ways to introduce knowledge through interactive music video. Her research and music both focus on accessible psychological empowerment and social impact. She is also the proud director of, an online mental health coping skills festival. Shalhavit's passions are Positive Psychology Education and performance. She spent the past ten years at Harvard University where she did her master's in digital design and visual storytelling and stayed there afterward to conduct further research on online education. She came to Edinburgh after being a Research Fellow at Harvard University, where she surveyed and analysed online engagement on Harvard's Learning Management System, Canvas. Following her work on visual learning platforms, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for their EDx MOOC from MIT's Sloane Business School, Shalhavit co-founded the MITx Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamps and lectured on Entrepreneurship, Business, User Experience and Wellness. Before embarking on this academic journey, she was a national fitness representative model. Shalhavit came out about her eating disorder and today she sings and speaks at high schools and hospitals about body diversity and self-love. She presented her exhibit “A visual journey in soul mending” at an opening event for the United Nations General Assembly, facilitated interactive audio visual exhibits around the United States and led the Florida One Billion Rising safe space dance festival with the Vagina Monologues. She was awarded with Harvard University’s annual Bok prize for her public service projects. Originally from Israel, Shalhavit is an innovative educator certified by the Jewish Agency. She has managed projects for Dr Tal Ben-Shahar of the Harvard Happiness Class, the course which set the tone for her research until today. She is still developing video projects in the field of Positive Psychology. In her free time, she loves to perform and direct electronic music videos, wearing sparkly things and dancing on mountain peaks with her drone flying around. You will often see her wearing biodegradable glitter (she glitters responsibly!)

Affiliated research centres

Project activity


            Research has articulated psychoeducational programmes for alleviating mental health challenges, however poor access hinders its impact on young people (Priester et al., 2016).


            This study aims to research how to improve the mental wellness of adolescents by developing accessible coping skills education. This will be done by both translating academic research on mental health coping skills topics, alongside individual interviews on topics in documentary format. These will be packaged into publicly accessible multimedia in the format of music video documentaries, co-created with young adults.


            Experimental Docu-Music-Video (DMV) productions informed by cognitive and multimedia learning theories are co-created with intended audiences. Feedback from participants and audiences inform iterative designs following each DMV. 


Following the production of several DMV’s in year one and two, a longer, eight minute DMV with two trailers and fifteen behind the scene segments were made in the project’s second year. During the third year, online dissemination has been in progress resulting in dozens of global online events on multiple platforms and over 100 audience responses. Thematic analysis of participant experience implies increased notion of self and social empathy, and positive regard towards one's own advice. Steps have been taken for the future production of DMV including: the effects of Covid restrictions on the project, IRAS and ethical procedures; and development of several last DMV interventions for this project.

An unexpected outcome of this research project – the online channel is called PosiFest – has served to further the development of effective multimedia aiming to increase public wellbeing and mental health education. This development will be elaborated upon and its implications will be discussed.


Keywords: Documentary, Music-Video, Documusicvideo, Psychological Empowerment, Social Impact, Well-Being, PosiFest

Shalhavit-Simcha's music videos merge research based coping skills alongside individuals sharing their experiences. She appreciates sciences' reassuring bellcurve: while research indicates what works for most people, you discover what works for YOU.

Please enjoy my music videos providing content on mental health research based psychological coping skills: