The mental health stigma: Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

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Brainstorming for design responses and ideas. Collage illustration by Nate Kitch (2016)

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The brainstorming of possibilities for a design response and change for the mental health issue was taken place with two other design students focusing on this same issue. Reflecting on the process, there were at times mind blocks which we found hard to push past and dig deeper as we were tackling this same issue for a few weeks. We had to ask each other questions to answer to break the walls which worked to give some new insights.

A five point summary of what we have identified as possibilities for a design response are:

  • Mental health stigma grows when people are not aware or do not understand – a visually effective campaign or interactive installations could possibly enhance this understanding and help prevent the stigma.
  • Proposing a generative process, perhaps an interactive one where people can express their emotions visually by drawing. This can also provide a means of meeting relevant support circles and can help increase interest in mental health issues, decline the stigma and heighten the topics approachability.
  • In regards to data visualisation, a design led response with a simple graphics to visually communicate the message of what the mental health issue presents itself nowadays. This allows for a clearer understanding and helps the ‘invisible’ disease be realised into something ‘real’ – posters which is something that can be seen.
  • Help increase approachability and support the not for profit organisations in local areas where 18-25 year olds can access easily and seek help.
  • A mobile phone app design that allows people to connect and seek professional advice at any time in need (keeping calm, breathing, preventing anxiety attack) as 18-25 year olds most likely will have a smart phone with them at all times.

Written by Helen Chang

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