Aligning the Perspective of Mental Health
“It’s an emotional thing. An issue when people are not able to communicate with other humans in a NORMAL manner. They are filled with a type of aggression and usually not pleasant to be around”.
This was the response from a 20 year old female when asked what mental health meant to her!
Challenging the interviewee to talk positively about Mental Health, she addressed me with a blank look on her face. She explained to me that Mental Health is a construct built on negativity, with no source of collective positive power. Physical health is deemed to be a space more knowledgeable for discussion and focus to change.
The perplex nature that the younger demographic places upon physical health over their mental wellbeing is it that surprising? When you uncover the external influential factor of media and the use of social media, the press and opinion forums, the perception expressed by the woman aged 20 unfortunately it makes sense.
I created a self-reflection process and probe for the woman, circling four key applications when designing a well-rounded interface of mental health that includes the management and application of:
- Management of stress
- Feeling purposeful
The feedback given was extremely general, with the listing of activities that made her feel each of the applications within her general life- drawing two agents. The individual feeling enthusiastic as well as feeling purposeful derived from a self-motivated and directed place. Whilst the probe displayed limitations and stress all derived from the individuals surrounding environment and from the space of social media.
The feasible reality for an individual to change these external factors is extremely challenging, however if an individual can grasp a fragmented insight to how these external factors can influence themselves and their behaviour within society. Possibly we need to approach a design for change within the perspective of mental health, transforming the implicit thoughts into explicit actions.
Cognitive psychology, the scientific study of the mind as an information processor, processes perception, attention, language, memory, thinking and consciousness that occur to construct our human behaviour. It has a reductionist approach to the belief that
“human behaviour can be explained by breaking it down into smaller component parts” no matter how complex the behaviour is. The information processed is based on assumptions of the information made available by the environment and the way that is transformed and digested. We receive this information from the environment through visual perception of sensory organs eyes, ears and nose.
“A major theoretical issue on which psychologists are divided is the extent to which perception relies directly on the information present in the stimulus. Some argue that perceptual processes are not direct, but depend on the perceiver’s expectations and previous knowledge as well as the information available in the stimulus itself.” (Weibell, C.J. 2011, para. 5)
The concept of perception is important to explore as it creates knowledge to how the preconceptions of mental health at the current time were manufactured into an manipulated construct. Although the exercises did not provide an unfolding bead for the push to promote mental wellness, it was significantly beneficial towards the further insight into the negative stigma that surrounds the issue.
To improve the probe, the interviewee required a more contrived set of reflective questions that addressed the ideologies of what causes self happiness and what motivates an individual to desire happiness over any other emotion. It would have been incredibly intriguing to enter the unstructured interview with the absence of the word ‘mental health’ and to explore the factors of mental well-being through indirect dialogue. If this was executed, I think perhaps a much less bias outcome would have occurred from the experimentation.
Weibell, C.J. 2011, Principles of Learning: The Cognitive Perspective, viewed 30 August 2016, <https://principlesoflearning.wordpress.com/dissertation/chapter-3-literature-review-2/the-cognitive-perspective/>