Post Ten: ūüíć The Proposal (#2)

Reflection and Design Proposal (Week 8)
Joy Li


The small group feedback session was particularly helpful in that it provided a fresh perspective¬†and sought to challenge and question the often single-mindedness of one’s ideas. It was clear from the onset¬†that my¬†difficultly in succinctly articulating and communicating the¬†problem statement were already red flags¬†signifying the¬†‘half-bakedness’ and lack of focus in my ideas. Out of resentment, I may have overreacted and actively challenged what I believed at the time as an erroneous model of learning.

But in this sour attempt to shift the blame for my own apparent lack of vision, I managed to come to a relatively resolved solution that holds intense relevance and personal immediacy. From listening to my colleagues responses, I have taken note of some of their more successful forms of rationalisation and utilised their methods in reframing my research. Instead of looking at a generalised population (women) that exist on a generalised space (digital), I looked towards narrowing my perspective towards a particular demographic and the issues that are specific to them. And that is when it all made sense to me.

Whilst the impetus to choose a culturally and gender specific position toward mental health was always in the background of potential options, all it took was one bad experience and a lifetime of suppression to acknowledge the reality of mental health and the need to address it within the Asian Australian community. On some levels, the foundations were already laid from the insights garnered from the primary research interviews which I conducted with two others in similar circumstances. In some sense, this ironic realisation and the continual reluctance in dehumanising the existence of mental health underscores my entire experience and transition into adulthood.

Points for improvement (from previous week’s work):
The areas for improvement were rather evident as they reflected the general confusion that arose from the vague problem statement and its unrelated design proposals. The feedback session pointed out many flaws within the initial ideas (prior to the reframing) that provoked a change in the overall direction. The three main critical points of feedback include:

  1. Re-thinking the problem statement: Making it more specific to a particular audience and having relation to the intended design proposal.
  2. Consider the target audience of the design proposal: In the case of women (needs to be proactive) and for men (needs to be reactive).
  3. Finding something nuanced: ‘nothing too niche’

Whilst the feedback session failed to quelled the anxieties I have been having towards my previous direction, it was pivotal in that it led me to re-evaluate my position and guided my thoughts into a more personal and revealing place.

On a more positive note, I can rest easy knowing that what I intend to propose will be of value to at least one person.¬†ūüėĆ

ūüíć Proposal #2¬†

Project Title: TBC (haven’t thought of a witty name yet)

Practice Type: Generative + Service

The Issue: In spite of the growing prevalence of depression and high risk of suicidal behaviour among Asian Australian women who are children of immigrants, little has been addressed in their underutilisation of mental health services as well as their perceived barriers to accessing and receiving treatment.

Problem Statement: How can we improve the mental health of first generation young female migrants (Asian-Australian, 18-24yrs) in a manner which is sensitive to their unique cultural experience and challenges?

The Possible Change: The proposed design intervention will be specifically aimed at Asian-Australian women and unlike other mental health services, it will need to comprise of issues relating to culture, family, relationships, language, sexuality and gender which speak to the first generation of young Asian Australian women. In essence, this change will exist to promote integration, self-worth, safety, acceptance, empowerment, and will assist in developing sustainable coping methods.

The Design Action to Support Change (needs a little refining):¬†This design intervention intends to provide a generative service that promotes shared understanding between¬†first generation of Asian-Australian young¬†females (aged 18-24) and their immigrant mothers (aged 40+). The users of this digital platform (whether app/website/both) will primarily focus on guiding young females in voicing their adversities/struggles to their mothers in a non-confrontational and reflective manner. On the other end, the mothers who are simultaneously active on this platform are made aware of their daughter’s concerns and can respond with sensitivity when assisted by certain prompts and translation features that¬†seek to avoid the miscommunication that often arises as a¬†result of each parties lack of fluency and understanding of the nuances in each other’s respective cultures.¬†This exclusive platform attempts to create a dialogue between both demographics of issues relating to everyday experiences and hurdles in life in attempts to facilitate and improve the mental health/well-being of both parties.

This proposal has been informed by the demographic’s inherent behaviours and exhibition¬†of self-help coping methods via the internet, the proliferation of digital culture in the modern age, a promotion of passivity over traditional aggression and to prompt reflection and empathetic understanding.

Other forms this service could manifest into/or be an addition to a larger community platform:

  • Self/community-generated personal handbook (self-help guide) created to combat the internal monologue and ruminations that often tell us that ‘you are¬†worthless’. And give physicality to the often silent affirmations of an asian mother. The need to capture those moments that an individual can then carry with them and be reminded of their worth
  • Role models, stories and speaking out: Shared personal stories of successful/everyday Asian-Australian women,¬†combating the stigma of sharing their¬†struggles with mental health and how to deal with the uniquely common experiences.
  • Q&A, articles and good internet memes: Place to share, comment and write about what matters or to have a good laugh.