An integral and invaluable aspect throughout this entire process of mapping, brainstorming, researching and reflecting has been the feedback and collaboration I have participated in with and received from my fellow group members. Without their unique and personal insights I would never have been able to push this idea to the depth at which it currently is now. An exemplar of such value is found in the feedback that I received when I presented my draft proposal to my group throughout the week. During this time I received two extremely helpful insights from them, and my tutor, that have furthered the depth and overall quality of my proposal.
1. How does it get there?
Firstly, the overwhelming feedback that I received was that I have overlooked exactly how my mental health kit will be funded and delivered to the persons doorstep. After brainstorming solutions involving the government, schools and parents collaborating to pay for, manufacture and distribute these kits, it became apparent that this notion of a nation wide campaign was becoming convoluted and unrealistic. Instead, I decided to scale back the scope of this project and propose a design that is a trial launched by headspace. With headspace as my client, the new target audience will consist of 18-25 year old males who are currently accessing headspace and have moved out of home for the first time. This solves the problem of knowing when address changes have been made and the current living situation of the target audience, as headspace ask their users to fill in surveys whenever they access their facilities. This solves how it will be delivered to the doorstep, but how is it funded? This is answered in the next piece of feedback I received:
2. Does it need to be a suitcase?
Can I achieve what I wish to achieve in a different medium? It was proposed that such a large item might become a nuisance to the user and will cause them to lose interest in, or even become irritated by the kit. Although I felt the poetic nature of a suitcase being delivered to someone who has just moved was quite beautiful, I recognise the wisdom and insight in this observation. Thus I have tweaked this to become a mental health first aid kit. The cost will be minimal as it will be made from recycled cardboard making it much more accessible and financially realistic. It will also become much more streamlined and compact, as it will become the size of a shoe box, making it easier to deliver and store. Thus, solving the problems of cost and accessibility, but also maintaining a poetic element to it, as every home is expected to have some form of physical medical kit, so why not also equip ourselves with a mental medical kit? However, I also received feedback to be careful about how I implement this metaphor, as first aid kits can be associated with very serious health conditions. Thus, I must steer the focus away from it being a first aid kit, and more like a common medicine box that is found in any home.
— Revised Proposal —
The MEN-tal Health Kit
Stigma and stereotyping has placed societal pressure on men to be independent, suppress their emotions and lack vulnerability [Ellis et al. 2014] whilst mental health facilities are oriented around sitting down, expressing ones feelings, talking about issues and opening up to a mental health care professional who you have no prior history with. Such an approach, although effective for some, does not quite take into consideration the societal pressures placed on men throughout their entire lives to do exactly the opposite.
Hence, it is of utmost importance to provide young men with these tools and resources in a medium which they can engage with and understand. Thus, we must design an intervention specifically for young men which is action-based and focuses on shifting behaviour and stigma, rather than simply increasing mental health knowledge.
‘The MEN-tal Health Kit’ is a service design provided and funded by the youth mental health foundation ‘headspace’. It is tailored to an audience of men, aged 18-25, moving into independence (out of parental care) for the first time who currently have mental health issues that affect their lives and are currently accessing headspace’s services. When a male, within the appropriate age bracket, moves out of home for the first time ‘The MEN-tal Health Kit’ will be delivered to their new residence. Designed to look like a first-aid kit, this small kit, manufactured from recycled cardboard, is made to be visually engaging and easily stored to make it accessible and usable to a gamut of audiences.
With an intention to prepare the young male for his first year of independence, the intervention provides the recipient with challenges, tasks and helpful techniques which promote establishing and maintaining a healthy mental wellbeing for the present and for the future. The MEN-tal Health Kit is not only tailored to men to provide physical and tangible action-based tasks, but is also tailored to the specific person, as it will provide information on sporting clubs, parks, religious institutions, mental health care clinics and other helpful places of interest specific to the area which the user has just moved to. Each challenge and task is tailored with the intention of changing behaviour and establishing habits that are reflective of a healthy and balanced life, both mentally and physically. By conducting this intervention through headspace, regular accountability and interaction can be implemented through the user’s mental health care professional. Feedback and information can be attained by providing users with surveys to complete as they wait to be seen at headspace. By interacting directly with the audience through surveys and face-to-face interaction, further information can be provided on how to improve and adjust The MEN-tal Health Kit for the future. It is hoped that such an intervention will help provide these men with the tools and resources to establish and enact good habits and behaviours and contribute to a healthy approach to mental wellbeing, both now and in the future.
Ellis, L., Collin, P., Hurley, P., Davenport, T., Burns, J. & Hickie, I. 2013, ‘Young men’s attitudes and behaviour in relation to mental health and technology: implications for the development of online mental health services’, BMC Psychiatry, 13:119, < https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-244X-13-119 >