10_”Moment.um” is here!

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The Issue:

The reality of what stress that our bodies/and mind receive without us realising in our everyday life and how we can combat it with mindfulness. 

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Introducing “Moment.um”


So what’s the problem?

Stress plays a huge part in our mental health and wellbeing, but how do we keep in control with so much going on in our everyday lives? Stress can be manage and can be improved to the point where it becomes beneficial for you instead of working against you.

What’s the potential change?

The best way to enable and empower people to be proactive in their own mental well being is to make them mindful of it. This will lead to long lasting change inside a persons ability to manage stress in their daily life and not only will it change their psychology but it will also change their physiology so they will be physically healthier.

The design action.

My preposition is for a service design. This will be a app based service, that will track the environmental factor into the affects it has on the body. On top of this it will help support the user pychologically through mindfulness and meditation activities that a user can interact with.

The service.

The service is provided (but not limited to) young professionals (22-30yo) who may be struggling with stress and understanding how stress affects their daily life with a application with provide a service in which will inform them and encourage them to keep track and stay on track so they can keep up with their busy schedules without sacrificing their health. This will help create and spread awareness about mental health and what steps that can be taken to improve it, so that it can be treat as you would any other illness.

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Above are some visual of how stress will be plotted against peoples energy levels for that day so they can see how prepared they are for the day and if they should take the day’s tasks with more caution.

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The way I want to show my supporting research is with poster:

  1. Showing my biggest insight, which for me was the interview I constructed to see the affects mindfulness had on the perception of stress.
  2. Fact that I had found throughout the task to help elevated stress or eliminate it.
  3. The final will be a visual showing in what ways stress can be affecting a individual without them realising, so it can make clearer to the importance of stress on the body.

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Now time to execute because it is in my nature. 🙂

 

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9_Brainstorming is a brewing

The Five W’S

Who does the problem affect?
What are the boundaries of the issue?
When does it occur?
Where does the problem occur?
Why is this issue important?

What is the next step? Brainstorming of course!

After we had created our statement for each other we needed to come up with a brainstorm on possibilities of how this can manifest itself. What would be the best way to enable and empower people to be proactive in their own mental wellbeing? Possible outcomes were mindfulness/meditation apps, motivation diaries, self-help apps, happiness graphs. None felt solid enough to me and they all still needed some work to push the ideas further.


Proactive self-help brainstorming

 

The following brainstorm was for, “The disconnect experienced by patients affected by mental health issues in communication and interactions with health professionals.”  We brainstormed with Lauren about finding ways to create a language that people can make with their health care professional to simplify how they communication. This would create a more comfortable relationship between patient and doctor, so that it is easier to come to the solution more clearly rather then a possibility of a misdiagnose coming about because of miss communication. This helped me explore myself in what language I can create when communicating to people when asking about, how they describe stress when they are inputting their data.

 

img_6910The disconnect experienced by patients affected by mental health issues in communication and interactions with health professionals.

Following that brainstorm was one on the problem ownership and control of our state of mind. We tried to as a group come up with as many different ways which this can be represented as a service, experimental or generative design. This was a result of no having a clear idea of what direction the person wanted to go in for their design, I think was because they were confused with the task. We tried our best help out in the best way we understood.

img_6911Ownership and control of our state of mind.

Reflection

Brainstorming is a very handy tool to use for designing, I do however think you need to have clear idea of what you’re brainstorming, what you aim to achieve and how long you’re going to brainstorm for. This type of mapping was very helpful for me to narrow down what I want to get out of my design proposal. I do think for myself it would have been helpful to know in which direction we were heading because I’m a big picture person and I sometimes struggled with trusting the process of do little bits every week. I really enjoyed the group think tank exercises as we were able to pool our combined knowledge together to try and get the best outcome. Another final note is I found the resource that Chris provided (http://www.designkit.org/) to be invaluable as I will be able to use this in future project, I just wish I had it earlier on in the project.

8_The idea is finally here!

All of research, mind mapping, brainstorming and more mapping from the pass weeks has lead us to this what can we design to fulfill a need within the issue of mental health. After all the weeks of racking our brains for what “mental health” means? to actually finally coming up with a solution to a problem creating possible design responses to our specific issue. We weren’t in the clear yet, as we had two more mapping exercise to do.

 

The Five W’S

This exercise was difficult to narrow down the first time I did it, but then Chris came and helped walk us through how we should approach the problem with a easier way to narrow it down to a very specific need within a situation. The aim of this exercise was to create one clear statement we can use to explain what we were targeting with out design solution.

Who does the problem affect?

  • This problem affects people with chronic stress
  • Time poor
  • lack of awareness
  • Bad time management
  • Poor SES
  • high achievers
  • Perfectionists

What are the boundaries of the issue?

  • Mental health awareness to stay healthy & active
  • Not a physical ailment per say, but more of a stressed individual.

When does it occur?

  • Prolong periods of stress
  • High cortisol levels
  • Over worked
  • Over thinking
  • Fearful

Where does the problem occur? 

  • Busy working individuals who don’t have time to take care of themselves mentally and physically.

Why is this issue important?

  • Affects all individuals
  • It is a part of our biology & we can take the time to change by maintaining ourselves.

What is the problem?

After discussing it with my group we were able to distill my focus to:

The reality of what stress that our bodies/and mind receive without us realising in our everyday life and how we can combat it with mindfulness. 

This one statement seemed to filter through what I was looking for in my research and what I was attracted to the most without me realising it on a conscious level.

What is the next step?

After we had created our statement for each other we needed to come up with a brainstorm on possibilities of how this can manifest itself. What would be the best way to enable and empower people to be proactive in their own mental wellbeing? Possible outcomes were mindfulness/meditation apps, motivation diaries, self-help apps, happiness graphs. None felt solid enough to me and they all still needed some work to push the ideas further.

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Proactive self-help brainstorming

Potential design responses for my proposal.

  1. How to combat stress with mindfulness so that our bodies/and mind are care for to perform when we most need them
  2. Use the data gathered by the application to learn more about users and the human body of how stress interacts with the body 
  3. Create a understanding of how stress affects the body and how the body is stressed from outside factors
  4. Improve the way people see and interact with stress in daily activities.
  5. Create a sustained lifestyle for a user to be able to be happy and health in their life.

 

Proposal

From the five points for my potential design it is clear that my designs were centred around, “Stress’s affect on our bodies/mind and how we can mindful of it.”  This made a lot of sense as my research had a major focus on what you can do with your mental health to improve it as well as how mental health had a effect on the body.

I propose to create a service design for the proactive user who want to help or improve their stress levels from everyday life. Creating a awareness and mindfulness of their body so they can take care of it better. This will put the tools and empower the user that their stress and how they feel will be in their control rather then something that they can’t control. The service will also have help inbuilt so that whenever the user is feeling lost it can help them work through their problems or issues. Data will be taken from the user to be analysed to find patterns that may be occurring that the user is unaware of and will further feedback into the system so future predictions and strategies can be made for the user. The service will help users feel more in control of their life’s through a understanding of what is happening to them and their bodies so they can be proactive. This service should fulfill the need that modern life has created in helping us keep track of how our body is faring in our busy lives so we have has little down time as possible.

7_Mapping our journey to the end.

Mindmap?

Throughout this subject we had to create a lot of mind maps, this was a repetitive task and at sometimes boring…As we sat there trying to rack our brains for solutions when we had become so dependant on the use of technology to find the answers that we needed, but as we weeks passed on it became clear why the maps were so important and why we needed to do them.

Stakeholder Map.

In post 3, the process of mapping actors in mental health helped paint a picture to get a clearer image of what mental health entailed and why it was so import to so many people in a social context. However this map was a generalisation of the whole issue and didn’t delve deep into the heart of the issue I wanted to attack. Then the digital version of the map help make it cleaner and visible of what human/non human actors interacted with each other a lot and how they affected each other. 

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Stakeholder map.

MindmapImproved stakeholder map.

Trigger words.

Word association was the next exercise we did in week 4, we tried to come up with as many words we could think of related to mental health. There was a general concensus in the brainstorm that mental health was a negative thing, this could be cause by social media’s affect on our perception of mental health and what it entails. Then after we needed to write a antonym of the word we had written down, this was difficult for some of the words we had come up with but not only that it was difficult to come up with descriptive emotive words for this exercise.

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Mental words.

The following exercises was to arrange the words into a scale then to select the ones that we want to map the most. This was the map we made based around uncertainty, ignorance and future of people suffering from mental health, this then helped us step further into the mind of a person affected by mental health.

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Another mind map: Further down the rabbit hole we go.

 

Mapping Controversies, Lack of Knowledge and Needs vs Wants

Week 5 was a big mapping day, we mapped out the lack of knowledge of mental health, the controversies around it and the needs vs wants of the mental health community. There was a lot of ideas behind culture and biology that created interesting avenues about habits that create poor mental health, this can be biological, cultural pressure and social perception.

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lack of knowledge.

Controversies and drama associated with mental health was the direct we took from the previous map to move forward with. The insights that we had is the Biology vs Mentality is mental health issue increasing in awareness so therefore the number of cases of mental health people have increased or have they just been discovered. Also is it that the rapid pace of social change is happening so mental issues are increasing because the lifestyle isn’t sustainable or is it a environmental one where the products we use are making us ill. This map open up a lot new ways of thinking about mental health as a issue by looking at where people were having discrepancies about what mental health is or what is about.

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Controversies of mental health.

From the previous map we choice the idea surrounding of needs vs wants, is our needs being met in the current social climate and if it isn’t what can be done to help fulfill this need? Support systems are very important for people…however, what happens when the family template and unit is broken down to help support then household with a income? Not only that who is the first to demand that this be changed if it is a problem? The government who’s revenue is affected by the health of its people or the people who need the government to accommodate the growing changing need of the people? This map left me with somethings to consider about mental health’s issues.

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Needs or Wants?

The final map was to pick a brand which is a actor in the mental health issue and how it affects the people it reaches, with this map we didn’t get a lot of time. In essence nike is selling us the idea that their products is a lifestyle choice and it affects our purchases when we are trying to cloth ourselves we want to be seen in a certain light. This is what Nike banks on with their motivational ad’s aiming to inspire but at the same time buy.

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Nike sells mental health?

Final words

Mapping everything out was a difficult task to try and rack our brains for what we knew and understand about the issue at hand. Without mapping it would be hard to create something with so much depth or find a very specific part of the issue that struck a chord with me in how I wanted to approach the design task. The ideas that I am starting to think about for my design approach for 3A/B is to find a way to help people with dealing with their mental issues as if it was a obstacle to cope and deal with what that will manifest as isn’t clear to me yet. Things I would improve on the task of creating mind mapping would be to set a shorter timer or perhaps when stuck for ideas, spend 5 mins online researching to help trigger more ideas. One invaluable resource that I did find out of these task was http://www.designkit.org/, which has a abundance of resources in find and creating new ideas for future projects.

6_Sorting the words from the worries

Twitter who?

Twitter is a platform in which people can only communicate 150 characters to get their message across, so the messages are very succinct. The use for twitter is more of a conversational one where by information is more direct peer to peer. Twitter is most similar to telemarketing or word of mouth, as people are always looking for a way to communicate with people because this platform is fight for re tweets and likes.

Sifting through the words

The way I sorted through the data was to scrap for any use of the #stress and #stressed, after the data was scraped I looked for themes or commonalities within the scrape set I had found. From this I found that three categories emerged, Diet, habits and mental health awareness campaigns.

Habits are what we do, diet is who we are, thinking is how we see.

The finding from the automation was there were close to 90% of articles were about how to change habits or diet, that you can do to create better mental for yourself. Whether it be in the work, home, relationships and everyday life, there is a way to increase mental health and well being in various small changes to create a environment so it will put yourself in a better position to not be stressed.

 

Habit tweets

 

It interesting  to see that so much research and work had gone into creating ways that people can use in their everyday to increase their well being, I also found how there wasn’t much engagement in people asking for help on the platform. This could have a lot to do with the emotional security people feel when they post personal issues online or because speaking about mental issues is consider as a personal complaint, but it was very apparent that social awareness about mental issues as a afflictions was the minority.

 

Diet tweets

 Possible outcomes.

Design solutions from this data scrap might not be possible with such a small data set and the quality of the data variable. However, a possibility might be in extracting all the information that the posts provide in how to improve the way we interact with the world around us. A cheat sheet on “how to human”, this would contain all the information that can improve mental health that researchers have found to help people, so it can serve as a reference card for people when they are in need of a confidence boost or are stressed out and looking to alleviate their stress temporarily to get their bearings.

5_Pain is all a perception.

Life of a design student.

Peter a 24 year old, BVisComm student at UTS was asked a series of questions to see his understanding of Mental health and how he was dealing with his own mental health during the stresses of university.

What comes to mind when you think of mental health?
When I think of mental health, I think of it being a fine line between rational decision making and the sheer notion of just being able to think independently.

How would you describe it?
As an issue that affects the way people think and act accordingly, mental strains are a cause of these actions.

What would you classify as a serious mental issue?
I would classify something as a serious issue when somebody needs attention several times in a day, or if they don’t have the ability to take on new ideas and change for the better.

Do you think your mental state is more physically or mentally affected?
I think that it’s a mixture of both, even though I wasn’t born with any health problems, there are more factors to consider than just being affected and that is just the way you are in general. Instead I believe that mental state in general is diversified between the two.

How aware of mental health issues are you and what do you know?
I’m fairly aware of mental health and their issues. As a person who doesn’t deal with mental health issues, I know just as much as I see on the news and what I hear in conversation.

Has there ever been a time where you were able to tell your environment was affecting your mood?
Definitely. Yes.

Who did you talk to when you felt this way or did you deal with it yourself?
Talked to my mates when I ever get the chance, other than that I would usually keep it to myself.

What kind of pressures do you have in your life?
I wouldn’t say pressure, but the stresses are a lot. University, internship, work, gym. The pressures of excelling in those however is high.

What ratio would you say is pressure you put on yourself vs out of your control?
I probably put pressure on myself for my internship and work, which is a ratio of 4:3 days of the week. Nothing as yet has been out of my control.

When faced with the same problem are you better able to deal with it mentally or do you consciously have to make a decision to?
I’m able to deal with it mentally but if the workloads get too high or stressful, I sit down and think until I’m comfortable with the track I’m taking.

What do you use as coping mechanisms for dealing with these feelings?
If I’m stressed out or pressured. Ill take some time alone. Listen to some music or go for a quiet drive somewhere. Something to ease the attention.

Who is the first person you’d go to if you felt this way?
I would honestly probably keep it to myself or go to my sister.

How do you think people could be more aware of mental health?
By being more considerate of others. If people just opened their eyes and realised just how fortunate they are, then the awareness turn into appreciation, and we wouldn’t have a constant problem when trying to help people with mental health conditions.

What do you think could be done to educate people more?
More awareness through everyday activity.  I feel like the only way a person will become more educated is learning first hand. Learning from someone who personally had to deal with those issues is both beneficial and insightful, and its exactly what we need if we want out awareness levels to increase. In terms of education, I think there’s already resources available.  Its the way we deliver those resources that will prove to be the difference.

Probing for change.

The task that was created for the probe was to find as many different uses for a brick (ie. it can be used to write but you can also use it to dig a hole). First without any priming, followed by questions about feeling towards the task and then again after meditating for 5mins, followed by the same questions with a added task of constructing a card house.

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Before the test:

What would you say your stress is like now?
7

how do you feel?
Happy, but stressful and also rushed.

List of possibilities:
_house
_Door stop
_break to make concrete
_create a texture of artwork
_paper weight
_throw at someone
_break a door handle
_scratch something

How difficult did you find the task 1-10, what did you find so difficult about it?
8

How did you feel during this task, what emotions did you have specifically?
Curious and stressed because what kind of I was giving.

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Before the test (Second round):

The test subject was ask to go away and meditate for 5 mins, then return to the testing bench.

What would you say your stress is like now?
5

how do you feel?
relaxed, ready, energized the stress is still there but I feel ready for it.

List of possibilities:
(while constructing a card house)
_building
_holding a door
_stopping a car
_scratch something
_excavate
_break
_hurt
_paperweight
_stand

How difficult did you find the task 1-10, what did you find so difficult about it?
8

How did you feel during this task, what emotions did you have specifically?
Ready, the task got harder as you progressed through it.

What did you feel was different from the first task?
Under less pressure then the first time, more alert and relax. I felt I had more to give the second time over the first.

Lessons learnt.

The task that I gave to my test subject (Peter) was a stressful creative task in coming up with uses for a brick to be used in different ways then for it’s intended purpose. Peter found the first task with just coming up with uses for a “brick” quite difficult, but he found it enjoyable and challenging to think creatively.

After Peter returned from the 5 min meditation, he felt more prepared and capable to take on the task at hand and it showed in the results of the test being about to come up with one more use even though he was asked to perform a extra task for the exercise. This result was surprising as the task had become more challenging, however he was able to perform better with less perceived stress. Peter’s stress level when from a level 7 to a level 5 with just meditation and even though his perception of the task stay the same the tasks difficulty had dramatically been increased, on top of this his performance in the task had improved.

The reason for orienting that task the way I did was to first get a baseline of a individuals stress level and to see if meditation was helpful but also to see how much of a impact stress had on the task at hand. The task had achieved all the ideas I was trying to confirmed, but out of the task it was also observed that the perception of the tasks difficulty can have a dramatic effect on the difficulty of the task.

The probe had been very successful in achieving conformation of the effectiveness of meditation but also the insight of how perception plays a giant role in the way we interpret stress and the difficulty of tasks we face. For future test, I would refine the testing parameters to help remove inconsistency such as difficulty of task, making sure enough variance between tasks so the individual doesn’t have the ability to use previous knowledge ie. different objects to come up with uses for.

Things to improve.

  • Improved consistency of testing.
  • Guided meditation so as it removes variance.
  • Greater description of how the subject is feeling.
  • Standard way to create a picture of the subject stress levels.
  • Create a greater data set.

3_We see the way we think…

Identifying mental health

Mental health affects a lot of people everyday, it was hard to say who wasn’t affected by mental health. Different aspects of mental health was either helped or hindered by different actors “human” and “non-human”. A example of this is social media where we found as a group that as a “non-human”, such as twitter, facebook, instagram and it would help spread awareness about mental health. However, could quickly be hi-jacked by other users and news outlets to negate the awareness or even cause a negative effect to the original creators or organisations.

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In this mindmap, we connected organisations and words around mental health together to help try to establish where miscommunication was happening and why certain trends were reoccurring in a social context. We found the three key non-human players were uncertainty, ignorance and the future, these different stresses seemed to fuel information and education about mental health.

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Mental health brainstorm

This next mindmap was to map out all the human and non-human actors we could think of that affected mental health. We found that the government and individuals had a huge part to play when it came to aid mental health. For example the government had a responsibility to help individuals suffering from mental health so that individuals could help generate growth for the country which will in turn help the individuals, but it requires one or both parties to achieve this otherwise the cycle would breakdown.

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Connecting the actors up.

This final map was connections we made between organisations, humans, educators, actions or obstacles, it help to visualise how each effected one another and the outcomes that can result from addressing issues incorrectly. What stood out to me was education played a huge role in creating a understanding about mental health issues, it is this understanding that help put in perspective that self awareness was crucial in helping those effected by mental issues.

Mental health visualised

“Saturn devouring his son” painting by Francisco Goya

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This painting by goya is part of a series where the mental state of the subject was trying to be depicted rather then the classical style of painting, which was with precision and accuracy to the ideal of beauty/ugliness rather the strokes used in this image was more expressive and free. This is different to my research as it tries to classify and define absolute answers or solutions, whereas this painting shows if for what it feels like to the individual.

Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz

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Peanuts takes a comical way of approaching depression by trying to teach the signs and “how to” be depressed, this is a informative and disarming way in the approach to help educate people of what to look out for when they are depressed or others around them. Even if this was to entertain, I think this mind stick in some individuals minds and help them identify when others need help, which is a more lighthearted way of looking at the issue of mental health then with the news articles.

Quotivation by Unknown

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Quotivation is a form which has been emerging more and more online as creators try to share fables or sayings quickly to other users so that they can hopefully be enlightened by the new found perspective. This is interesting way to look at mental health as it is trying to change the way the sufferer sees and interacts with the world in the hope they can overcome their obstacles with a paradigm shift.

Mental meme by Unknown

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Memeing our way to awareness! This meme is usually only used to broadcast grievances people have about life and injustices, in this context however it is being used to help create awareness that mental illness isn’t seen as an acceptable reason for missing work. This is different in contrast to the articles that I have chosen as this is a everyday nuance that is nescessary to a individual from functioning normally, where my articles are been focusing more of solutions and effects of mental health this is more in the education of others about mental health.

Poster help by Unknown

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This was part of a poster that offered passersby quick help that they could pull off as a tab, the same way you would look for a new roommate or even self promote lessons for sale. The creator must have been trying to change the way help can perceive and offered, catch the audience off guard by the innocent nature of the poster.

In the supermarket by Mind

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We see the way we think, this image is from a campaign “it’s time to talk. it’s time to change”, the comic strip tries to confront the way we see mental illness. The trend I have been noticing with the examples I have been finding is a need for a change in the way we see mental illness and how we approach people who have mental issues.

Quote by Stephen Fry

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We all need love and support to get through hardship, but what if you found it hard to receive that love and support? I’d image that’s what it is like to experience mental illness, as you don’t know how to help yourself and it is hard to receive help from others. This image is a cautionary inside that it would be really helpful to some if you stuck by them through hardship.

Okay by unknown

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The “Okay” campaign is one which attempts to bring up awareness about talking about mental health to sufferers within insulting them. With a lack of understanding about most mental health illnesses it would seem like a very sensitive topic to talk about. “Okay” enables people with permission to try and help those in need suffering from mental health.

Real Monsters by Toby Allen

The “Real Monsters” poster series outlining different afflictions of mental illness and the way it hinders those who have it as if it was another being outside of their control. This take on mental illness was interesting because it makes them more approachable and manageable when they are isolated as their own entity, the most effective images that has been found in my research were one such as these where a perception was being challenged or changed in a disarming way so it made it more approachable to start thinking about the issue of mental health.

4_Seriously funny?

What is “The invisible discriminator”?


1.https://youtu.be/NVevKISMyx0

This campaign was made by beyond blue in 2006 to highlights the impact of racism on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The campaign was aimed at subtle or ‘casual’ racism, this can be unequal social treatment in public that might be a acceptable social stereotype that really should change “a race are less educated then other races” or “a race is not able to maintain a job as well as other races”.

The Invisible Discriminator   2YouTube1.https://youtu.be/NVevKISMyx0

Why is the campaign needed?

Racism impacts the mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, which puts them at greater risk of developing depression and anxiety substance us and attempted suicide.

Campaign statistics:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are nearly three times more likely to be psychologically distressed than other Australians and twice as likely to die by suicide3
  • There is a ‘dose’ effect: the risk of high or very high levels of psychological distress increases as the volume of racism increases4

From: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

The Invisible Discriminator   YouTube1.https://youtu.be/NVevKISMyx0

Warm welcome?

The campaign was received poorly (220 000 views, 34 likes and 35 dislikes) by the internet and needed to disable comments on the video so that “flaming” and slander wasn’t allowed on the video’s forum. This isn’t necessarily a indication of the video’s poor message, but it could be a case of the internet grabs a wide audience of all ages and backgrounds. The understanding and knowledge of each audience member can’t be guaranteed to be accepting of new ideas and tolerance of differing ideals.

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assa1.https://youtu.be/NVevKISMyx0

Clear message!

The personal stories that were made with the campaign create a greater sense of authenticity (with 4000 views, but 72 likes and 17 dislikes), it would seem this video had more engagement with its audience. This might have been because of personal recount attracts more empathy then a staged reenactment of the same account, but it become more apparent why the comments had been disabled with the campaigns main video…

Greg’s story   YouTube2.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3qhzOzvp7I

Playground with no boundaries

The internet has very few limitations with what people can say and do, the only enforcers are those running the forum that is used. This leaves a lot of room for individuals to play, create and comment, this was taken advantage of with “greg’s story” part of the invisible discriminator campaign. Some of the comments were encouraging, others facetious, few were racist, this is probably the reason for disabling comments of the main campaign video. It is always hard to say they way the “internet” will react to a heartfelt message as the balance is a fine line that content creators must ride to make a far reaching and impactful message that would help future generations.

sa.png2.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3qhzOzvp7I

References

  1. Beyond Blue. 2016, ‘The Invisible Discriminator’, beyondblueofficial, July 31 2016, viewed 20 August 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVevKISMyx0
  2. Beyond Blue. 2016, ‘Greg’s story’, beyondblueofficial, July 31 2016, viewed 20 August 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3qhzOzvp7I
  3. Beyond Blue. 2016, ‘What do you think she’s upto?’, beyondblueofficial, July 31 2016, viewed 20 August 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axX93e_YWt0

 

 

2_

Nature vs Nuture.

Personal psychology is the study of personality and the variance between individuals, this is the investigation of cognition, emotions, motivations and behavioural science in environmental situations. The two studies that I have pick look into this relationship of nature vs nurture, the first study “The Behavioural Genetics of Personality Development in Adulthood” (Bleidon, B., Kandler, C., Caspi, A. 2014) is a exploration of the role that genetics play vs environmental influences during the developing stages of adulthood. The three conclusions that the study came to was:

  1. There is a strong and relatively stable genetic foundation of individual differences in personality throughout the adult life span and 50% of the variance in personality characteristics is genetic in origin
  2. Environmental influences become more important and contribute to an increasing rank-order stability of personality traits from early to middle adulthood
  3. Both genetic and non shared environmental influences contribute to both stability and change in personality traits.(Bleidon, B., Kandler, C., Caspi, A. 2014)

While the second study was on the relationship between automatic (reflexive) and controlled (reflective) behaviour in individuals in relation to adjusting the automatic processes (which control immediate behaviour) which in-turn influence future automatically controlled behaviour. (Bleidon, B., Kandler, C., Caspi, A. 2014)

The thinking for picking these two academic articles was to explore the reasons for mental health problems and to maybe enlighten a way in which to find a different way of perceiving mental health and all the connotations that comes with it. The insights made from these two studies is that mentality is both genetic, environmental and reflective as well as reflexive behaviors can influence each other.  Mental health would seem like quite a complex issue even within the science community as one shoe doesn’t fit all, with so many varying factors it requires a tailored approach in which a individual can receive proper treatment.

References

  1. Corr, P.J. 2010, ‘Automatic and controlled processes in behavioural control: Implications for personality psychology’, European Journal of Personality, July 10 2010, viewed 1 August 2016, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.lib.uts.edu.au
  2. Bleidon, B., Kandler, C., Caspi, A. 2014, ‘The Behavioural Genetics of Personality Development in Adulthood—Classic, Contemporary, and Future Trends’, European Journal of Personality, May 2014, viewed 1 August 2016, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.lib.uts.edu.au

1_Mind & Body or Mind vs Body.

1. How exercise can help postpartum depression.

This article is written by Roma Van Der Walt, a member of “Well Rounded NY” and works to support mothers through the process of prenatal and postpartum. Her professional background gives us insight into what mental stresses mothers go through in the process of having offspring.

The article explores how mothers are affected during postpartum and how the body and the mind of the patient is going through after birth. For some woman the symptoms of postpartum can be a hormonal imbalance, as they have a drop in progesterone, estrogen and other hormones after delivery, but for other women this can be a trigger for postpartum anxiety and feelings of isolation, sadness, and failure. The causes of this can be returning to work, separation anxiety that the baby experiences, reintroduction of physical intimacy between their partners, there are a whole host of reasons that a mother can be triggered by after birth and can be supported to make a full recovery from the support of the community and family members.

The reason why I chose this article as one of articles to analyse is the interest I have with mental health and the effect it has on the body and visa versa. With more and more information being available to us, how do we “keep upto date” and sensitive to peoples needs without losing our resilience or coddling individuals that we just need to approached with respect and encouragement like any other person. These are the types of questions I want to ask about mental health in the new age of information and for my research task.

2. Loneliness is a modern curse – and it needs our children to lift it.

Loneliness has become more prevalent more connected we’ve become, the technologies that we have developed to increase our ability to stay in contact and bring us closer can be actually making us come undone. What about those who lives began when technology wasn’t so abundant? This is what James Bartholomew explores in this article with a quarter of people over 65 suffer from loneliness, but this isn’t a new phenomenon. For most of human history it was socially acceptable and encouraged to take care of the old and weak, they have always live with or near their grown-up children. Now, there has been a shift. Older people live in residential care, nursing homes or alone and it very uncommon to find a family that live together with their adult children.

Bartholomew (2016) view is that this is because of the shift towards the pursuit of “self-actualisation” and believes that true actualisation is when you sacrifice your time to honour your duty to your parents. After trying to search for more information on Bartholomew (which was to be found), I think that the credibility of his cause and solution was at best “half-baked”. I did still think the seed of the idea had merit in the need to look after the elderly needs just as highly as the young and perhaps finding roles in which they can play in the community that can keep them contributing towards society in the best way they can.

This returns me back to how much of our problems are mental and how much are they physical or are they so interlaced that it would be hard to separate the two without effecting the other? When is a persons body to aged to help their mental health? or is it matter of staying physically and mentally active to stay healthy and happy? Because I feel as though “self-actualisation” would help with ageing, however what about those who weren’t afforded such luxuries?

3. Online study could help migraine suffers reduce frequency of episodes.

The age of self help and self diagnosis is here. People curing themselves using home brewed remedies, self-actualisation and enlightenment through quotivation. It is truly amazing what we are able to accomplish as individuals with the abundance of resources around us. Queensland researchers have realised this and have taken advantage of these technologies to help reduce migraines through a online service. “Headache disorders and migraines are among the most common disorders of the nervous system and affect more than half the world’s population.” (Mitchell-Whittington, A. 2016). The researchers at Griffith University have created a way in which people can receive self-help from a ebook, that helps those affected the triggers and causes of migraines and tension headaches.

Access is one of the biggest issues for mental health help whether it is due to a restriction of time, availability or financial stability. Any barrier between the patient and the psychologist can deter a person from seeking out aid, this is why creating channels that can help people seek help is a step in the direction. This is my reasoning for selecting this article for analysis, if I understand the way in which people seek and get helped, this can in turn create a understanding of how you can apply similar practices to other areas of mental wellbeing. This case is also another example of how powerful the mind can be with affecting our physical state and how it can be employed to help fix a physical issue.

4. UK growth not being converted to increased wellbeing, says report.

Countries depend on economic growth to gauge how well they are progressing in relation to other nations. This increase in financial worth, however sometimes neglects to factor in other forms of wealth such as economic freedom, health and wellbeing. If ignored to a extreme it can lead to economic breakdown, a standstill of economic grow and national protest and is a good indicator for sustainable economic growth(As seen with Greece who are ranked lowest in wellbeing). The article compares UK with countries with the highest and lowest overall wellbeing score and the most and the least made progress on wellbeing from 2006 to 2014. Duncan (2016) interprets the sustainable economic development assessment (Seda) that uses measures such as “employment rates, economic stability, income equality and environment, to gives countries an overall score and a recent progress score, and compares their ability to convert wealth and growth into wellbeing.” (Duncan 2016) and comes to the understanding that the leaders of globalising countries need to make sure that growth as well as benefits are able to reach the people, which is hard to indicate using GDP along.

Now…how does growth of a nation effect mental health? This thought returns back to the questions of how much of our mental health is influenced by our thoughts vs how much of our mental health is influenced by our environment? If our mental health is effected greatly by our environment then it would make sense that a country with prolong poor living standards would lead to a poor performance in economic growth but not only that what happens if our economic growth which is great but the benefits are not directly translated to the individual level? The way in which a society performs economically is set by the governments standards, this could be through bank interest rates, housing affordability, government policy and spending. Now if a mental health was largely dependant on environmental factors then it would be in the best interest of government and corporations to work in favour of the individual. However, if the individuals health was largely influenced by the thoughts a individual was having then it would make sense to utilise more funds for the “greater good”. It’s a balancing act that the Govt. and large corporations have to manage everyday but it would be helpful to have a better understanding of what we can do to improve peoples mental health by rewarding them for their hard work.

5. How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia

This animation style talk was adapted by Ted Ed from a lecture made by Madhumita Murgia explaining the way in which stress affects your brain and body. Stress can give you a quick burst of focus to a burst of energy to help you in situations in everyday life, however prolong exposure to stress can decrease brain size, function and change the structure of the brain. Prolong exposure to stress increases activity in the amydala (fear centre), which leads to decrease activity in the hippocampus (learning, memory and fear control).  A study in rats found that mothers who were nurturing developed more cortisol receptors making them less susceptible to stress where as mothers who are less nurturing became more stressed causing epigenetic changes (these are changes on the genetic level and that can be passed down to future generations), but these changes can be reversed if the mothers are swapped.

At the beginnings of my research I was interested in how a persons environment, genetics and understanding interacted with each other to see if there was one factor that was the most influential the health and wellbeing of our mental health and if there was there a way to combat the issue with a practical solution. Through the research it showed  instances that it was possible to change an environment to improve a individuals mental state and visa versa. It is ultimately about a balancing act that everyone must deal with and yes there can be major factors that sway you more into grey days (genetics,education level, social and economical status), but it is comforting to know that there is some control we have in changing the way in which we see the world and how it sees us, it is just about walking the line for ourselves and not for others to create the life that we would like for ourselves.

References

  1. Walt, R. 2016, ‘How Exercise can help postpartum depression’, The Huffington Post, July 19 2016, viewed 1 August 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/well-rounded-ny/how-exercise-can-help-pos_b_11296486.html?utm_hp_ref=mental-health
  2. Bartholomew, J. 2016, ‘Loneliness is a modern curse – and it needs our children to lift it’, The Sydney Morning Herald, July 29 2016, viewed 1 August 2016, http://www.smh.com.au/comment/loneliness-is-a-modern-curse–and-it-needs-our-children-to-lift-it-20160728-gqga87.html
  3. Mitchell-Whittington, A. 2016, ‘Online study could help migraine suffers reduce frequency of episodes’, Sydney Morning Herald, July 26 2016, viewed 1 August 2016, http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/online-study-could-help-migraine-suffers-reduce-frequency-of-episodes-20160726-gqe0zc.html
  4. Duncan, P. 2016, ‘UK growth not being converted to increased wellbeing, says report’, The Guardian, July 21 2016, viewed 1 August 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/jul/21/uk-economic-growth-not-converted-ncreased-wellbeing-seda-report
  5. Murgia, M. 2015, ‘How stress affects your brain – Madhumita Murgia’, TED-Ed, November 9 2015, viewed 1 August 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuyPuH9ojCE