Experiencing another story

Post 10: Reflection and Proposition

By further re-thinking and narrowing down ideas for my proposition, I came up with the realisation that people in Japan think it is a taboo to talk about personal problems to the public. This is why many people avoid seeking support from their surroundings and from professionals and thus, increases their risk of having mental health issues.
I then decided to think of a design that visually illustrates people’s emotions. They need to realise that holding in their feelings increases stress and ultimately becomes a toxic phenomenon affecting their body and mind.

Talking to peers and my tutor, I was told to keep this design a positive experience for the users whilst also giving them self-awareness about their mental state. However, knowing that this is still too broad, I was finding it difficult to think of a solid design solution for task 3.
I then received an email from my tutor telling me that the Stephen Fry tweet I talked about in my data scraping blog was very powerful. I decided to look back into this blog and build up on a new proposition.

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By re-reading this twitter post, I agreed that empathy building is the most essential element for people to understand how it feels to have mental health. This will also reduce the high level of stigma in Japan.

Therefore, my new proposition is “to decrease stigma by building empathy and giving an opportunity for individuals to understand how people feel who suffer from mental health issues”.

When researching about empathy building activities, I came across an article that stated in order to build empathy, people need to be placed in someone else’s shoes, discover commonalities with the person and develop ambitious imagination. Keeping these keys words in mind, I thought of my design solution.

The design solution will be an installation that allows individuals to experience a story of a person with depression and how she overcame this from the support of other people.
The installation will start off in a pitch black room. There will be a narration in first person speaking out real personal emotions such as “this is how I felt at first. I felt cold. lonely. empty.” As the story continues, the room will suddenly show a circle of light symbolic of hope. Zooming into this circle, the voice will change into angelic, positive voices who will play the roles of family, friends and professional who all supported the person with depression. The people in the room will feel a warm breeze and experience calmness when this happens, releasing them from the cold, isolated atmosphere that was experienced at the beginning.

By individuals personally experience this, they are able to put themselves into the shoes of someone with mental health and discover similar feelings of when they are emotional unstable too. By also experiencing and understanding the feeling of hope, love and relief through the support of other people, individuals will also realize that they too will need to support those who are suffering so they will experience the same positive relief and love they had experienced through this installation.



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