Call off the Engagement: Revising the Proposal.

POST 10: Reflection and Revised Proposal



My brain was in mapping mode, my creative process had become the cycle of map, discuss, blog, repeat and I was getting comfortable with the simplicity of these tasks. I was ignoring the fact that in the next week I was supposed to have developed a design proposal and started thinking about the final coming weeks. While I knew completely what was coming, I acted totally offended that this subject blindsided me. ‘How could they just expect us to draw up a design proposal out of no where?!’ But really I have always known I’m an incredibly indecisive and also self-critical person, and the countless painful mindmaps I constructed in the lead up to my first proposal were getting me nowhere. I had always been a huge fan of interactive, site specific art installations, and seemed to be pushing myself in this general direction, without caring whether it was relevant to the Emergent practices we were engaging with.

The proposal I ran by my peers in our small class discussion wasn’t particularly confident, wasn’t particularly refined and while I went to sleep the night before happy with my ideas, I woke up certain that they needed to be revised. My classmates were supportive of the idea, and encouraged me that it had elements that were relevant and that could be pursued. However, it was discussion with my peers about their own proposals that started to get me thinking about the different ways we can connect people and raise awareness without actually needing to have some sort of live feed of communication. I was stuck in the idea that whatever my proposal, because I was interested in rural mental health for young people, I needed to find some grand solution that connected these young people, with urban spaces, with friends, with family, with other young people. It wasn’t until one of my peers pointed it out that I realised that this subject wasn’t about picking a colossal issue like Mental Illness and attempting to solve it, but was about using unique and modern design practises to provoke discussion and raise awareness in relation to said issue. I needed to stop putting pressure on myself to come up with an idea that was the be all and end all.

While I had a proposal I had prepared for this week, I got cold feet and couldn’t bare to express it to my tutor, completely unravelling the idea in my mind from the moment I woke up to that very moment in class. I was very good at talking myself out of things. However, the class discussions really made me realise that while my idea might have a nice sentiment, it could be clearer, more interesting and far simpler if I just revised it.

I went back to the texts I was reading, reopened my 48 tabs that were slowing my ancient laptop immensely and tried to get to the crux of what I am most interested in and specifically how I want to approach this issue. Youth Mental Health in rural Australia is an extremely broad topic, and I noticed myself continually being drawn to various explanations from psychologists and politicians and scholars about what it is that causes such extreme risk of suicide and high rates of mental illness in these isolated areas. While the primary explanation is the lack of medical facilities, let alone those that provide mental health treatments, there are other factors that contribute including the burden of social isolation, the harshness and disaster of the land, and the lack of privacy in a ‘small town culture’. However, I was continually drawn to the culture of resilience and stoicism that exists in rural Australia and how such perceptions of humanity can be a huge detriment to those suffering from mental illness who might need to be reaching out to seek help. I was fascinated with the history of this culture, where it started and why it is perpetually woven into the socialisation of young people living in rural and regional Australia.


Project: TBC

Type: Generative

Issue: The image of ‘The Rural Australian’ for as long as we know it has been hard-working, resilient, self-sufficient and stoic figure in our history. Developing, with the help of colonial creative histories such as art and poetry, the legend of those who work on the land has generated a expectation of stability and strength for rural Australians. A culture of self-reliance  has discouraged individuals from putting up their hand when they are suffering from mental distress. The expectation that one will ‘just get on with it’ or ‘do it on your own’ has been a contributing factor in the fact that young Australian’s living in rural and regional areas are at the highest risk of mental illness and suicide. The poetry of Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson has long been an enormous part of white history and the development of the legend of the ‘Outback Drover’ and men and women of the bush. In Henry Lawson’s 1899 work, How the Land Was Won, he writes:

They toiled and they fought through the shame of it –
Through wilderness, flood, and drought…
…The miseries suffered, unvoiced, unknown –
And that’s how the land was won.

Here we can see Lawson’s construction of the Australian bushman archetype, an image of stoicism who’s courage is measured in his silence. This harmful perception of rural Australians has perpetuated a harmful culture amongst rural communities for centuries.

Young Australian’s living in rural and regional communities lack role models that exist on a spectrum of emotion and expression. Many of these young people may have been socialised to believe that this culture is the only way to deal with mental illness. There does not exist a real collection of role models that normalise the idea of seeking help and inform youth that it is essential and not stigmatised to reach out when times are tough.

Possible Change:

In this project I hope to help young people living in rural and regional Australia to rewrite a new image of what it means to be who they are. Create a wide and varied representation of young people in rural communities that speaks to their insecurities, their weaknesses, their worries and their demons. To tap into the creative brains of 18-24 year olds and ask them to show us what hurts them in order to reveal humanise the age old expectation of stoicism that contradicts the current state of mental health for this part of Australia. I hope to create a database that is a collection of words, poems, stories and drawings that respond to the query; ‘What worries you?’ in order to unravel the stigma that exists around voicing your inner turmoil and seeking help.

Design Action to Support Change:

A carefully curated collection of creative works that challenge the culture of stoicism and resilience that has been perpetuated in rural Australia through our colonial creative histories. Organised online with the ability for individuals to browse based on medium and location and read and view the real image of young rural Australia.


Lawson, H. 1899, How the Land Was Won, accessed at: <;.



Post 10: Reflection and proposition


After a long term studies in this area, this is a quite interesting area, mental health can be researched by many different aspects. In the beginning, I studied about the people who would be the most vulnerable on mental health problems, through my research, think it would be teenagers, they are not mature enough and always be influenced by surrounding person or things, it is not easy for them to control their emotions, it will lead to a mental health problem easily. Also, teenager is an important part of a country’s development. In my opinion, how to improve and solve teenagers’ mental illness is a project that be worth investigating. After that, I read a lot of resources to understand the causes of teenagers’ mental health problems, I think finding the reasons of a problem is the most important for solving it. As I mentioned in my previous posts, teenagers always get pressures from their family or studies, teachers and parents can impact on their mental activities in the most direct way. After a few weeks’ development, through our group discussions and these map exercises, I started to have some ideas, to establish a connection between parents, teachers and teenagers, so lat them have a better communication and understanding with each other. In the last week, I tell my teacher about my draft proposals. Firstly, between the teacher and teenagers, I think teenagers can present their real thoughts through their drawing, teachers can record their observations of teenagers on an online system, parents can consult all information about their children at home, this can help parents to know their children’s situation at school and it is good for communicating with children at home. But through my descriptions in the class, the teacher gave me the feedback is: the draft proposal appears to contain too many projects, I just need to focus on one idea of these, then improve it and make it be a mature design . In this week, I reviewed my previous research, discussions with my group members and all feedback or suggestions from others, I refined my proposal, I’m not suers it a good design proposal, but I think it should be helpful for the issue that I studied on.


Project title:Online communication system

Practice type: generative/service design

The issue: Parents can’t know teenagers’ mental activities when they were in school.

The possible change: Establish an online platform for a better communication between parents and teachers, let parents know more about their children, a better communication and understanding between teenagers and their parents would be helpful for preventing or improving a mental illness.

The design action to support change: Teachers can record anything about all teenagers through their observations in schools, teenagers’ parents can read their children’s information in this system, so parents can know the situations about their children in schools, they can have a better understanding of their children.


In last week’s class, my tutor Chris suggested me to focus on the drawing test, this is one of my draft proposals that the psychologists can testing teenagers’ mental health by their drawings, this is an interesting design, but I did a lot of research about the parents and teachers’ impacts on teenagers’ mental health, so I want to keep my opinions, I want to offer a proposal that can help parents to know teenagers’ situations in the schools, it should be private, so an online system would be more private for all teenagers and it is more convenience for the communication between teachers and parents, if parents can know things about their children in schools, they would have a better understanding of their children,they can know teenagers’ study pressure, their interpersonal relationship. When parents can know their children, they can get along well with each other, this would be really helpful for teenagers’ mental heath, they wouldn’t get much pressure from their parents, even they can make friends with their parents.

Post 9: Visual documentation of the brainstorming session

In the class, my group give me a great help on my problem, they gave me a lot of ideas of solutions about my problem. Based on my previous studies, I want to build a platform between parents and teachers, have a good communication between them can help them understand the mental activities of teenagers, it also can help teenagers’ mental health development.


Firstly, we developed it from three aspects, data visualization needs to collect data, in our group discussion, we believe that this type of design is not suitable for the problem that I want to solve, so we focus on considering the service design and generative design.

In our previous studies, it can be seen the  face to face service is very important in teenagers’ mental health treatment, so we considered several design approaches those can allow teenagers, parents and teachers can communicate in face to face. For example, students can show their mental activities to the doctor through drawing, so the doctors can have a better understand of teenagers, this method would be an interesting approach, but this is only an interaction between doctors and teenagers, parents and teachers didn’t get involved into teenagers’ mental activities. Secondly, we can do a role-playing activity among teenagers, teachers and parents, which allows they have a better understand  with each other, I think this is a good proposal, but I feel it wouldn’t be a good design when we use it in our life. Finally, we also consider to let them write a letter to each other, this is a simple and direct way to let them have a good understanding with each other, but for teenagers, it is not easy for them to open their hearts and have a share with others about their real thoughts.

In addition, I also have some ideas about generative design, for psychological treatment of teenagers, perhaps the online ways would be more suitable for them, we can use an online system to record teenagers’ mental activities or create a platform that allows teachers record their observations for each student, parents can see the information about their children by this system at home, which allows have a better communication between teachers and parents, parents an know teenagers mental activities more clear in school, a better understanding can make a better communication between them, it would be good for prevention and treatment of teenagers’ mental illness.

Prior to the developments by this few weeks, I got my draft proposal now, after a week, I need them to be more specific and complete.

Post 8:Brainstorming possibilities for a design response

Through my research, development and group discussion in last few weeks, to be honest, I felt a little bit confused. Mental health is a wide range issue, particularly its research topic, more and more discussion make me fell so confused for my future studies. In this post, I need to sort out my research and ideas.

In the previous studies, we did some theoretical studies with mental health firstly, by reading some mental health-related books, news and finding some images about mental health, I was interested in teenagers’ mental health through analyzing these resources, I found many teenagers are plagued with mental health problem. And then, we did a lot of map exercises in class, we exchange our ideas about this issues with our group members and do some analysis about mental health in many different aspects.  We analyzed the stakeholders of mental health firstly, which may be human or non human. From these, we think several stakeholders have a close connection with teenagers’ mental health, such as schools, parents and some related organizations with government. I choose school and parents as my research topic at that time, i want to find a good connection between parents and school to know teenagers’ mental health activities more clear. Just have a clear understanding about teenagers, people can have a better help with their mental health problem. After this, I also learned some ideas from the discussions with my groups members. In many people’s mind, they would think the mental illness is a stigma, they don’t want to admit their problem and don’t want to tell others about their mental health treatment, this also is a big problem in mental health, so people should have a greatly improvement with understanding of mental health and privacy of mental health treatment. In addition, in our group discussion, the psychiatrist is always be mentioned, before, I think teenagers need more care from their teachers and parents about t their mental health, but when the problem has a certain extent, is it necessary to have a psychiatrist for getting a better treatment is a question should have a consideration.

In the last few weeks, I did research about mental health in many aspects, now, I would like to answer this series of questions and sort out all information about mental health problems and know the problem that I really want to solve later.


How to make better communication between teenagers, parents and teachers, so that teenagers can have a better mental health environment in school?


-Who Does the problem effect? Be specific

Mental health is a problem for anyone, no matter with your age, sex, nationality, occupation, mental health problems would occur. In my research, I focus on treatment of teenagers’ mental health problems, teenager is an essential element of a country’s future development, the teenagers’ growth is an important part, therefore, health problems of teenagers should be concerned. In addition, teenagers are not mature enough, they would be impacted by many things and people easily, a lot of people develop their mental health problems from their adolescence and become more serious when they be an adult. Overall, in my design, I need to solve or improve teenagers’ mental health problems.

-What r the boundaries of the problem?

I think this problem can be sorted as a communication problem. For teenagers, there always be a generation gap between themselves with parents and teachers, they don’t want to communicate more with others, the lack of communication is a main reason on  teenagers’ mental health problem, therefore, to establish a platform for people to get a better communication with each other is necessary on the mental health problems.

-When Does the problem occur? When does it need to be fixed?

Just same with the question that anyone would have mental health problem, it also occur at any time, but have an early prevention on mental health problems would be good for people.

-Where Does the problem occur?

Mental health problem would occur at any time and anywhere, I was focused on the teenagers in my project, for teenagers, they spend more time in the school, so the school environment is an important factor for teenagers’ mental health.

-Why Does it important?

In my previous studies concluded that teachers and parents are the biggest stakeholders those would impact on teenagers’ mental activities, therefore, there is a good communication between parents and teachers can help parents to know children’s situations in school and teachers can know students’ stories at home, this also would be helpful for teenagers’ mental health.


  • At school, it can be equipped with a professional psychiatrist, every week, the doctor can use different interesting activities to get to know the students’ mental activities and ease the pressure on students. (Such as painting, music, etc.) In the process of painting, sometimes, students will present their real ideas and mental activities, they can get fun in this process and the doctors also can know their mental actiities.
  • Let students use some simple patterns to record their moods of the day, the teacher will send these students’ mood patterns to their parents, so parents can know the general situation about their children in this day and they can have a better communication at home.
  • Create a system, teachers can leave messages for parents about their children’s situation at school, parents can see the information about their children at home. Parents and teachers will have a good communication and have a better understand of children through this system, when people can have a better understand with teenagers, they also can be more healthy on their mental.
  • Per week,  the teachers, teenagers and parents can be gathered in one place, let them communicate with each other, parents can also communicate with other teenagers, children can tell other teenagers’ parents about their real feelings, so everyone would open their hearts to exchange their inner thoughts with different people, this also would be a good way for parents to know teenagers’ mental activities.
  • Held the role-playing activities in the school, try to understand other people’s mental activities in the process of role-playing, so it can make a good mutual communication between teenagers and their parents.


To create a platform that can let teachers and parents keep contact, it can be an online system, the teacher will be write some relevant situations about each students for their parents on the platform, parents can have a login account, but they just can read relevant content abut their children, so parents can know more about the situations of their children in school and understand children’s mental activities, people can find teenagers’ mental health problem as soon as possible. After finding this, the school psychology teacher will have an associated counseling for them. It looks like a small mental health treatment system that presence in the school, which provides a platform  on network between teachers and parents, finding the problem and provide the doctors to solve this problems as soon as possible.

It’s raining brains.

Post 9: Collaborative Brainstorming

As I’m sure is true for anyone in my class, I don’t like openly collaborating on my own ideas,  but I do like talking about others’. I think theres a reluctancy to put forward your own ideas simply for the fear of others shutting them down. However, what’s great about a collaborative brainstorming session is that instead of putting forward a large selection of your own haphazard, messy and self conscious ideas that are usually quite similar in their direction, you are able to start with a blank canvas with a group that might be able to see the problem through a unique lens. Collaborative brainstorm isn’t as daunting as presenting a range of ideas to a group, because you are given the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other, be inspired by each other and start flows of conversation and creativity that might be incredibly useful in the idea generation process.

Our group brainstorming session during class was incredibly useful, and I found it far more valuable than the brainstorming I had attempted just the day before that class that was tedious and resulted in me forming a page of similar ideas, most of which were merely ‘filler’ proposals that were used to make the page look nice. It took a while to get the ball rolling, (our first brainstorm not as quick and smooth as the next few), but eventually we were starting to get creative with our ideas. Initially we were trying to split our possible design outcomes into the three categories of Service Design, Generative Design and Data Visualisation and work on each Emergent Practice Area on it’s own. It didn’t take long for us to realise that it was better for our creative thinking to not worry about categorising our ideas and focus on churning them out, disregarding how easy they would be to create, how useful they might be and how we might visualise them. What we needed to do was focus on the problem statement and think about creative ways of combatting that issue. Allowing the freedom of thought meant that each time we delved into conversation about a proposed idea, our words helped us segue onto the next one.


These two images are from Brainstorms that were not my own topic, but were from individuals in my group. I found that even listening to the ideas of others and coming up with possible solutions for topics that were not my own, I was able to be inspired and spark trains of thought in my own mind that might be useful for my own area of research. In the first map pictured above, one of my group members mentioned the world renowned unique mental health initiative Post Secret, in which individuals mail anonymous postcards with secrets or burdens that are playing on their mind and have them published online and in published books. Post Secret has been a movement I have been following for many years and it caused me to think about how this might be a source of inspiration in regard to own problem statement.


I am very grateful for the ideas generated by my group in regard to my own research area of choice. Not only was it incredibly useful to have other creatives come up with ideas that I alone might never have visited in my own brainstorming process, It was also incredibly beneficial to have the presence of others during the process. The pressure of having to voice ideas out loud and make comments during conversation forced myself to think about my words, my ideas and what they really mean. Collaboration is just as much a performance as it is a research method, and the nerves I get from having to work in groups can sometimes be more useful then it is a hinderance.

Connecting with the Disconnected.

POST 8: Design Proposal


I must be honest, over the past number of weeks of research I have been extremely indecisive about the potential focus for my design proposal. I have been flicking my interest within the issue of Mental Health constantly. I have found it incredibly difficult to pinpoint a specific aspect that interests me, as I start to get excited with every new piece of information I may find. I would breathe a sigh of relief and think; this is it! I want to research this further! Only to find the next sentence is just as eye-opening as the last.

However, looking back on my patterns of research I can’t shake my concern for the mental health experiences in rural and regional Australia. Having grown up in urban Sydney my entire life, I feel spoilt for choice in terms of mental health services. I have a HeadSpace centre within walking distance of my home, I knew where my school counsellor’s office was and when he was in, I could name at least 5 different mental health organisations off the top of my head and find their webpages and phone numbers within seconds. This slightly dark luxury of mine is something I have never considered until I started to reflect on my own experience during this research process. Young people in rural and regional areas – particularly males – have the highest instances of mental illness, yet are the least likely to seek help and treatment. Consequently and horrifically this group also have the highest recorded rates of suicide in Australia. The statistics themselves are enough to make me want to yell: “What are we doing about it?!” But the circumstances of geography, technological access and social context are all factors that are against motions to change these facts.

I was sitting on the train one afternoon and noticed an advertisement directed at parents that was urging them to notice the signs of anxiety and depression in their adolescent children. It warned that young people rarely seek help if their parents are not initiating the process or at least a huge support in the process. I was reminded of a statistic I read from Black Dog Institute that noted that 70% of people living with mental illness in rural and regional Australia do not seek help. I started to imagine the young adults and the adolescents living in these isolated spaces who might not have the social advantage of us living in highly populated areas when it comes to support networks and prevalence of treatment centres. If young people are not informed enough to seek help, feel as if no one will listen, do not know where to go or are simply too frightened to speak out then what chance to they have of ever breaking through that initial stage of silence?

W, W, W, W & W.

  1. WHO does the problem affect?
    The main actors affected by this issue are young people struggling with mental illness who live in rural and regional areas of Australia – as well as their families,
    local healthcare professionals and online mental health initiatives. 
  2. WHAT are the boundaries of the issue?
    This issue is primarily as a result of a lack of awareness in these rural and regional communities for mental illness and it’s potential pathways to help. However it is also clearly a structural issue as there simply not enough facilities in place for these isolated areas let alone initiatives that are accessible for young people sometimes acting alone. 
  3. WHEN does it occur?
    Right at the core of this issue is that young people suffering from mental illness in rural and regional areas are uninformed about seeing the signs of mental illness, are frightened or uncomfortable speaking out or may not have the support systems in place. The geographical location hinders their chances of speaking out due to three main factors;
      –  There simply isn’t the same facilities or resources available as there is in urban areas. In some cases there may be one local GP who has limited experience in mental illness.
    –  The intimacy of rural life means that individuals are fearful of everyone ‘finding out’ about their mental health. (“everybody knows everybody’s business in a small town”)
    –  The culture of resilience and self-reliance in rural communities means people are reluctant to speak out if they are struggling.
  4. WHERE does the problem occur?
    This issue occurs on a personal level for so many young people living in rural and regional communities. It can become an issue within the household, or stretch within their wider community, but it’s the lack of recognition and stigma associated with seeking help that prevents a possible solution.
  5. WHY is this issue important?
    You can see how important this issue is if you just read any statistic for suicide in rural and regional Australia. Young people in this areas are the most at risk of suicide and that fact alone is enough to need immediate solutions. We cannot neglect the communities that are out of our urban centres. Australia is a hugely diverse landscape with rural and regional areas that are so essential to our cultural, social and geographical identity, and we cannot turn a blind eye to the young people suffering in these areas. We need to allow young people to start the recovery process on their own if they are unable to reach out to a healthcare professional or a family member. We need to break down the culture and stigma that hinders sufferers from seeking help. 


Young people living in rural and regional communities are reluctant to make the step to seek self-initiated help for mental illness due to the lack of health care facilities, the burden of social stigma and the lack of emotional support.


After identifying my problem statement, we moved on to the Collaborative Brainstorming process. While I was nervous about having an entire group look onward as I write my problem statement in the centre of a large page, I knew that I always find these group idea generation tasks quite beneficial in my process.


After the initial brainstorming process, I started to identify 5 areas that I might want to expand on further and could lead to potential design proposals (Marked with Red Asterisk). I felt that while I had basic ideas of where these may lead, I needed to expand on them just a little further in order to see their strengths and weaknesses as actual design projects:




  • Data Visualisation comparing the experiences of mental illness of young people living in rural and regional areas with that of young people in urban areas. A multi layered data visualisation that would feature comparisons in statistical data, including suicide rates, facilities utilised as well as actual accessibility to healthcare, issues of alcohol and abuse and other potential factors that may influence the differences between urban and rural experience. This data visualisation would aim to raise awareness of the disadvantages for young people in rural and regional areas in regard to the treatment and experience of mental illness.
  • Online or Mobile Mindfulness application that acts as a subscriptive service targeted toward youth living in rural and regional Australia. Inspired by the Headspace UK Application, the design would feature mindfulness tasks and resources for young people looking to seek help on their own terms. Mindfulness is an incredibly useful skill to incorporate into everyday life and one of the easiest ways to help improve wellbeing and combat mental illness.
  • ‘Shout Into the Void’ Online program that allows individuals to submit a secret or a burden playing on their mind that disappears once it is posted. Similar to the “Scream Into The Void” Webpage featured on talk show; Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but more directed toward breaking down the sense of loneliness and isolation that comes with dealing with mental illness in rural and regional areas. When users ‘shout’ (type, write or draw) a confession into the void,  they receive someone else’s anonymous ‘shout’ back to them. Understanding that you’re not alone, understanding that there are other people out there who feel the same and that you can make it together.
  • ‘What Makes me Happy’ Photo project, inspired by my own personal probe task from an earlier blog post, this project would encourage rural and regional young people to send snapshots of one moment a day that fills them with joy or makes them feel calm, relaxed or hopeful. The photos would then be exhibited in an online space which would allow us to see a small amount of data about the individuals, their age, their location and an insight into what they care about. The main purpose of the project is not to view the data however, it is to allow youth in rural and regional areas the opportunity to take time to mindfully appreciate small snapshots of their lives that fill them with positivity. One of my family members who suffers from severe depression was encouraged to do 5 small things for themselves everyday, be it buying a coffee or taking time to sit in the sunshine. Being mindful of the things in your life that are stable and positive is just one self-initiated treatment for mental illness and can really help you to slowly lift your mood on a daily basis.



While still in it’s initial stages, what I am currently proposing is a generative design installation that comments on the isolation of young people experiencing mental illness in rural and regional communities. The installation would be linked to a live website that would be targeted toward rural and regional young Australians. It would feature a large-scale real time projection in a public space in Sydney of submissions from the webpage. The sentence to young people (could) be; ‘It Makes Me Sad When….’ or ‘Today I feel…’ Rural youth would be invited to draw or write a response to this question on a shared mural and have their answer added to the live projection in urban Sydney. The program would then identify the location of submission and allow rural responses to be added to the real-time projection. Beside each message the age and location of the individual would be identified. Above the installation would read, ‘Young Australians in rural and regional Australia are the group most at risk of suicide. This is what makes the youth of rural Australia sad:’ There would be cameras present above the mural that would allow youth using the website to see real time images of the people of city reading their words.

This design would not be trying to propose any solutions, nor would it be trying to replace discussions with psychologists, but rather it is used as a way to conceptually break down the barriers of physical isolation that prevent our young people from reaching out. The social, geographical and cultural factors that make young rural Australians the least likely to seek help for a mental illness can start to be erased as we finally address the sheer horror of this growing issue. Young people are able to address how they feel and understand that people will listen.



2014, Black Dog Institute, Rural Mental Health Appeal, viewed 15th September 2016, <;.

Warren, F. 2005, PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions From Ordinary Lives, William Morrow, USA. see also: <;.

2016, HeadSpace Incorporated, London, Mobile Application, <;.

2015, Scream Into The Void, viewed 15th September 2016, <;.

Visual Documentation

“This drawing is a symbolic statement about the nightmare of war, and the stealth with which turmoil and alienation works on the human psyche” (Tucker 1942)


POST 9 // Visual Documentation of the Brainstorming Session

By Eugenie Park


Brainstorming with my group has always been a fun and insightful activity. I find that these collaborative brainstorming sessions are valuable as they provide me with new perspective and new ideas. As a group, we all agreed that it was easier and more interesting to help each other out on their issues than focus on our own. For some reason, I was unable to think of design concepts or ideas but with others I had no problem. I think this was why these sessions are so important and helpful. Since we had spent the whole semester together, it was easier to talk and express ideas with each other and the discussion we had were valuable stepping stones to where we all stand with our focus ideas.

The brainstorming sessions in class started off a little slow as we didn’t know where or how to start. We thought it would be good to separate our possible design outcomes under the different branches of Emergent Design; Service Design, Generative Design and Data Visualisation. However, we found that this was limiting our ideas and was keeping us trapped as we tried think of outcomes that embodied the traits of those design categories. So we began to generate ideas first and then refine them to fit into emergent design. We disregarded how realistic or attainable these design outcomes were and instead focused on the problem statement and thought of all the possible solutions. This definitely helped us to create lots more ideas and concepts.

Mind mapping design responses for mental illness in education systems (Moran 2016)
Mind mapping design responses for mental health in rural/regional areas (Gearside 2016)

The following photos are from other group members. Thinking of ideas for each member of the group was helpful for us all as it put in the right mind set to generate ideas.

Mind mapping my problem statement (Park 2016)

The above image shows the ideas that we came up with for my specific focus. I was really interested about the notion of Post Secret; an ongoing community mail art project where people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard. Most of the concepts were based on education, support and anonymity. Brainstorming was very insightful as I definitely would not have been able to come up with all of these ideas by myself. I’m happy with the session that we had as I feel as if I have something to build upon with my design proposal. Discussing my ideas and thoughts with each member of the group has been beneficial as they have given me critical feedback on where I am with my focus as well as creating questions that I can further research.



Tucker, A. 1942, “Psycho, Heidelberg Military Hospital”, Australian War Memorial, viewed 14 September 2016 <;

A Design Response

“I hope Project 1 in 4 will help erase the stigma surrounding mental illness that prevents so many people from getting the help and support they need” (Betley 2015)


POST 8 // Brainstorming Possibilities for a Design Response

By Eugenie Park


Mind mapping, brainstorming, researching, reading and writing. The process of researching my focus has been long and at times tedious. I realized the more I read and researched the more confused I became. During the many class exercises, we were continuously told to remember why this was interesting and important to us and so it was not until Week 4 when we did the word mapping exercise that I realized I was more interested in the importance of support groups and their effect on those that are experiencing mental health issues. The following classes focused on other mind mapping and brainstorming exercises, definitely helped me to dig deeper into my new focus. Each week, talking with my group members in class and also within our group chat, I was continuously pushed to ask questions and research through various methods.

Those returning from war are experiencing mental health issues and the families that they return to, also experience mental health issues. The families and friends are not educated or trained to help support those with mental illnesses.


Australian military families alone are not able provide adequate support for serving and returning soldiers.




WHO does the problem effect?

Soldiers, Family and Friends.

WHAT are the boundaries of the problem?

A big boundary for this problem is the stigma that surrounds mental illness. This prevents many people from all different occupations from seeking treatment however this stigma has a stronger presence within the military environment. Soldiers do not want to be seen as weak or even be prevented from serving and thus keep their problems to themselves. Soldiers find it difficult to discuss their issues as the experiences from war are not entirely understood by all.

Lack of awareness and training is another boundary for this problem. Soldiers returning from service, return with mental health issues and families and friends are not aware of how to support and treat the issue. Soldiers and their families need to be aware of the mental health issues that can arise during service and how to manage it. Families also need support with supporting effected family members.

WHERE does the problem occur? Where does it need to be fixed?

The problem occurs everywhere. The stigma is everywhere and the lack of awareness is everywhere. Soldiers that train for the military need to be educated and informed about mental illness before they are sent to serve. The military environment needs to open up the conversation around mental illness and thus break the stigma that stops individuals from seeking help. The problem needs to be fixed before these individuals are sent to war.

WHEN does the problem occur? When does it need to be fixed?

Mental health illnesses do not occur after the soldiers return from service but are experienced and develop whilst individuals are serving. Veterans have a suicide rate 50% higher than those who did not serve in the military, and these statistics are slightly higher amongst veterans who were never deployed overseas (Bare 2015). This suggests that the cause of mental illnesses go beyond the trauma of war.

WHY is it important?

Supporting those with mental illnesses is vital. Although it may be hard to understand their experiences, it is possible to empathise and provide all the support we can to those that feel vulnerable. Having a strong support network helps those individuals suffering remember that there are people that care and love them. Returning soldiers should have that strong support network to help them through their nightmares and demons.

Mind mapping possible design responses to the problem statement. (Park 2016)



  • Data Visualisation
    • A data visualisation of the dates soldiers enlisted into the army and passed away from mental health issues/suicide. Data would also include age and perhaps time spent in service within Australia and overseas.
  • Online Data Base
    • A collection of nightmares that soldiers send in. These would be posted online for others to read and soldiers would be able to talk with one another. The dreams could also be displayed in a book or media piece where coding is used to transform the nightmares into spoken poems.
  • Campaign
    • A campaign that works to create greater awareness of mental health issues within the military environment. This campaign aims to work to educate and train soldiers and their families on mental health and its effects.
  • Support Group
    • Community group or service that stays with and helps families to support returning veterans and create a stronger support network.
  • Social Network
    • A social network created for soldiers and veterans to talk about their experiences and problems. People are able to post anonymously and can also connect with others to create an online support network.



For my design proposal, I have decided to focus on creating an interactive installation that is created from generative design. This installation will embody the experiences and nightmares of soliders whilst serving and after they have returned from service. This installation aims to emerse the audience into the mind of a soldier which brings greater awareness to the importance of supporting those with mental illnesses and well as being mindful of the mental health of your own and also those around you.

Soliders would send in their dreams or experiences online and these would then be rewritten by hand and shown on a touch screen wall within a dark room. Audience members can then read the stories and select sentences and words that stand out to them. The greater number of people that touch the same words or sentences, the brighter they shine on the wall. The room would be a moderate size not being too big and would have audio of murmuring voices. These voices would be reading the text however this audio is not to dominate the audience reading the text.

My design proposal needs much more work and refinement, as I need to continually question whether this is the best medium for conveying what I want to emphasise.



Bare, S. 2015, “The Truth About 22 Veteran Suicides A Day”, Task and Purpose, viewed 14 September 2016 <;

Holmes, L. 2015, “24 Spot-On Illustrations That Combat Mental Health Stigma”, Huffington Post, viewed 14 September 2016 <;



Maps Maps Maps

“A diagnosis is a burden enough without being burdened by secrecy and shame” (Kim 2014)


POST 7 // Issue Mapping

By Eugenie Park


Creating mind maps helps to organise thoughts and lets us think about how things are connected. The maps we created in Week 3 was an introduction; thinking about who the stakeholders were, both human and non human. Mapping them in terms of different categories helped us to really think and evaluate the position of these stakeholders.

Week 4’s mapping exercise helped us to develop a sense of understanding with words. These word mapping ideas was interesting to see as a group as each person had subconsciously focused on different types of words whether they were emotive, negative, encouraging or clinical. It was interesting to see that although we were studying the same issue, each person had a different perspective and focus. Most of the word choices that I had made for this exercise were focused on supporting and preventing the worst of mental illness; well being, mindfulness, future, lost, unavoidable. Connecting these words with stake holders was another thought-provoking task. With the one word, depending on which stake holder was saying or using it, the connotations of the word would change. As we thought about this, we realized that this was due to the personal nature of mental illness. This mapping exercise was valuable to me, as it changed the way I wanted to write about mental health. It made me realize and think about the connotations of words before using them.




During Week 5 another mapping exercise was done with the help of other group members. With a guide, we were asked to map out more specific areas of mental health. The government was analysed in terms of being a stake holder. Having other group members collaborating on these mind maps was valuable as we were able to learn from each others research and knowledge. Breaking down the government, there was a strong understanding of their position within mental health.

Government and Mental Health
Controversy and Mental Health
Controversy and Mental Health
Doctors and Mental Health


From looking at these maps, its evident that stigma will continue to limit mental health from being noticed. The stigma that surrounds mental illness is what stops people from seeking help which can result in outcomes that could be avoided such as suicide. Stigma weighs down the importance of speaking about mental illness which in turn stops people from being aware and mindful of the people around them. This lack of awareness has lead to individuals to suffer from mental health issues, which in turn can also effect those around the individual.

This exercise brought me back to an article that I had read for Post 1, which highlighted the alarming number of returning war veterans that were committing suicide from mental health issues. Soldiers experience mental health issues during their time in the war and carry them back when their deployment is done. However only one fifth are reporting symptoms of PTSD or depression and within that only half seek treatment (Dingfelder 2009). Soldiers were afraid that mental health issues would stunt their career development or even result in their separation from the service. The stigma of being weakness is another factor that prevents these men and women from seeking help (Dingfelder 2009). More needs to be done to demolish the stigma of mental illness within the military, so that people can openly seek help and receive support and treatment.



Dingfelder, S. 2009, “The Military’s War on Stigma”, American Psychological Association, vol. 40, No. 6, pp. 52

Kim, D. 2014, “Stacks of You”, Moonassi, viewed  6 September 2016 <;





Gathering Data

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Despite the rising number of deaths to suicide, what’s really being done? (Michel 2016)


POST 6 // Scraping the Web for Data

By Eugenie Park


The internet is dense with information. With the help of search engines, all types of information can be found. The use of data scraping tools enables are more focused search from all sources. Scraping the web for specific data is useful to see what the community is thinking about your focus area. Using the advanced search tool on Twitter, I was able to find the current stance on mental health in the military.

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Stigma plays a huge role in preventing soldiers in seeking help. Despite this no much is being done to talk about the issue and break the barriers that are stopping individuals from receiving treatment.






Looking to scrape more data, I chose to use Datapipeline to research more into my focus. I found that a lot of the results were repeated as it picked up on retweets. However it was interesting to see the Top Retweets and Favourites.


5 Point Summary

  • A slight change in search terms can change the resulting tweets. This brings me back to the word mind mapping exercise that was done in class.
  • Despite the known concerns of soldiers and veterans suffering from mental health issues, not much is being done. The filtered tweets go back to 2009 however only 11 out of 213 tweets were posted this year. There are not many campaigns or services advertised to support soldiers and veterans as well as their families with treating mental illness
  • More people are becoming aware that a greater number of people with mental illness are turning to suicide. Despite each case is different, knowing the ‘symptoms’ can definitely help.
  • A handful of people do not view the mental health of soldiers as a result of their upbringing and also due to their choice to become soldiers. Another handful of people are sceptical about the relationship between service and mental health.
  • Soldiers and veterans dealing with mental health issues may also be experiencing problems with drug abuse. This is a big problem within the States.



Michel, J. 2016, “Veteran Commits Suicide Hours After Being Turned Away At VA Facility – Rest In Peace”, Twitter Post, 27 July, viewed 6 September 2016 <;

Post 7: Issue Mapping

It is interesting to see how the tables have turned. I was not present for class for the first session of brain storming and issue mapping, and this time around last week I was present and had merged with two other groups to produce our mind maps. The issue with this was that we were all unfamiliar with the field in which we were researching Mental Health. Being in a new group was enlightening, as I learnt from their research as well and their process.


Map 1: Actors around Government

We looked at the immediate actors and influencers in the “Government” theme. Though we were focused on the government, there are many actors who are only merely funded by the government and their credibility and influence is dependent by how involved the Government is. Many resources come from Charities and NGO’s, and an interesting idea was that some areas have a lack of funding


Map 2: Controversy & Debate

This map was listing and creating themes of the various controversies that surround Mental Health. We listed ideas that had opposites as well as flesh out the reasonings behind one controversy could lead to another controversy.



Map 3: Controversy – Stigma

For the next map we focused heavily on the reasoning behind Stigma. This was a good theme to focus on as it related to all our research. We were able to narrow the relationships that had the existence of stigma, we also narrowed on the ideas and the possibilities for its existence. We branched out how in same areas they are glamourised or romanticised but completely forbidden in a corporate setting.


Map 4: Actor & Questions – Doctor

We chose to analyse the Doctor as an actor of Mental Health. They are seen as a reliable and credible source for the issue, however as we answered more questions to create a map for it became multifaceted. A doctor has a heavily clinical expression of Mental Health and yet has the most influence. There are many politics behind their opinion as well as they are still human and can have fault of negligence.



I found the revisiting of mapping an interesting one. Though it initially would have been quite repetitive, I had been taken in with a new group. We had different ideas, and due to having different themes within Mental Health we had a lot of research backing each other. The task past swiftly and we each demonstrated a strong understanding of the layers around Mental Health. I also learnt from sharing what approach I was having, that my peers did not understand eHealth or were quite unaware of it which will continue to be interesting for myself.


POST 7: Issue mapping

In week3, we listed a number of stakeholders those can be relevant with our issue in map exercise, we studied the influences of teenagers’ mental health about these stakeholders. From these, we can the parents, teachers have the greatest impact on teenagers’ mental activities. Thus, I got a conclusion that I my design proposal can start to think about parents and teachers.


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In week4, we do some different types of map exercises, this week, we listed many words those we think can be related with mental health. First of all, each of us listed a series of words by ourselves, then we share them with each other, when we put all words together, we can see that each of us have a different understanding of mental health, they come from different aspects, it can be seen that for each different teenager, the things would impact on their mental activities are different, the treatment ways those can be accepted are also not same. Through our discussions, we selected some words those are closely linked teenagers’ mental health, analyzed and classified them in the exercises. In my opinion, emotions, educate, support , encouragement, self-reflecting are my choice  for teenagers’ mental health, they need to have a self-reflection about their mental health, but they also need some related educations about mental health, they need a support, encouragement and understanding from parents and teachers. For these several words, I did an extended development from my research direction. Actually, I think I didn’t get a lot of new ideas from this exercises, but I am sure about my research direction now, about teenagers’ mental health, I decided to focus on parents and teachers, they are the best helper for teenagers’ mental health.


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In week5, we selected some specific aspects of mental health and do an analysis on them. In mental health, the government and doctors are the most important stakeholders. in week3, we also have some analysis of them, but this week, the analysis is more extensive and detailed. In addition, we discuss about the mental health aspects, people always ashamed for this disease, which in this respect there is always lot of debates and we have a detailed analysis on the reasons of these arguments.

In this week, we do some analysis those are same with week 3, but I still think I got some new ideas. Before this exercises, I always focus on teachers and parents’ influence on teenagers and I don’t have a consider on psychiatrist, now I think the professional problems need some professional doctors to solve it, maybe a psychiatrist is necessary for each school. In addition, in the previous studies, I always emphasize teenagers don’t want to communicate with teachers and parents because they don’t know each other, but I didn’t think about their misunderstanding of themselves, they think it is shameful. It will be another issue that I can consider. i can’t just solve the communication problems between parents, teachers and students, teenagers’ mental health problem should be found as soon as possible, but we also need to consider the protection and security in mental health treatments and teenagers’ views on this issue.

Design for change: Interview and Probe

My interview was a particularly personal one. It made me realise that there are a lot of people dealing with some sort of mental illness and these are people who I see everyday. Through the interview I was able to see that mental illness is not just something we develop over time or get due to certain circumstances but it can be hereditary and shows a strong link with science i.e. the chemicals in our brain.

1.) Do you have any experience with mental illness or know someone who is affected by it?
She has an anxiety condition and she often feels it. The intensity of the anxiety fluctuates and certain things can trigger it, e.g. getting to university or events late or being in an unfamiliar crowd. Her mother also has an anxiety condition which helps gain a better understanding of it.

2.) When did you first realise you might have anxiety?
She said she probably always had it because many of the women in her family had it but she was just never aware of it. When she was younger, even in primary school she strove for perfection and would get upset if she didn’t perform well. The pivotal moment for her when she realised she might have an anxiety condition was when she did the HSC. She became overly obsessed with studying and overworked herself that she suffered physically (developed glandular fever).

3.) What resources has she used to help cope with her anxiety?
A website called Mama Mia, which is run by a big internet personality who is open about her own struggles with anxiety and mental illness and runs a forum for discussion allowing her to advise and help those that come across her webpage.
She also draws anxiety maps which help her pinpoint what her triggers are and track which days were good and which days weren’t so good. It helps her understand the way she functions better and she can learn from the maps what works for her and triggers/increases her anxiety and stress.

4.) What triggers your anxiety?
As mentioned in question 1, her triggers can be the smallest of things like turning up late to class, work or an event or to being in an unfamiliar crowd. Her biggest trigger is perfectionism. She said she has quite an obsession with achieving high grades and making sure she minimises risk of failure.

5.) Who are you most likely to confide in/turn to for help?
Her mother is usually her source of encouragement and advice. Since her mother experienced life with an anxiety disorder she understands her struggles the best. However, usually it is dependent on the situation. For instance, there are times when she will confide in her sister (as she has an anxiety condition as well) but her sister deals with it by being alone and receiving energy through solitude whereas for herself being with her friends helps reduce those feelings of anxiety as it is like a distraction.

6.) What do you know about the government’s involvement with mental illness?
She said she doesn’t know too much about government involvement. She’s never felt the need to research or go into it because she has had such a big support group her whole life.

7.) What resources are you aware of?
Mindfulness and brain training apps. Websites and forums as well as therapy and counselling.

8.) What are the general attitudes towards mental illness in people around our age? (18-25yrs)

She believes that mental illness is more accepted amongst females as they seem to be more open and honest about their struggles. On the other hand, with males it is a lot more stigmatised as they have a harder time opening up. However, she believes that mental illness is quickly becoming a popular topic and there are more people/organisations raising awareness which is cultivating a culture of honesty and openness. At the same time the digital world is negatively impacting young Australians, increasing the number of people aged 18 to 25, that have stress or anxiety disorders.

9.) What is your perception of those with mental illness?
Since she herself has an anxiety condition she associates those with mental illness with those that are perfectionists/high achievers, those that overwork themselves. She definitely does not view her mental illness or anybody elses mental illness in a negative light because she feels that these people are quite emotionally intelligent. They can reflect on and assess situations well and are very self-aware.

It was interesting for me to see that mental illness could very well be hereditary and not just a nurture issue. A lot of the experiences she was telling me about, I could identify with which felt somewhat comforting. The interview, I feel went well, however I think for next time I can come up with more challenging and thought provoking questions.  

I gave the person I interviewed a probe pack which consisted of, Lego building blocks, chocolate, a bouncy ball and crayons with paper. I asked her to interact with one of the items in the pack on the days she felt high levels of anxiety or stress.

She really enjoyed using the crayons and paper as she said it was a nice, mindless distraction, “something about using your hands can distract you from what’s going on in your mind. Almost meditation like!” She also liked the chocolate because it gave her some energy and something small to enjoy at the end of her long day.

I chose those specific items and activities that my four-year old nephew likes to do because I found when I engaged in these activities with him my stress levels went down and I was in a better state of mind to do my uni work. It’s interesting because the simplest of activities can help reduce these levels of anxiety and stress but often we try so many other things to deal with it. I myself, overload my brain with self-help books and apps and brain training in an effort to calm myself down, and of course to an extent they are very beneficial but often I found that these simple activities like building Lego with my nephew did the trick. Even having a snack in between like chocolate or fruit could be enough for me to settle some nerves. Perhaps we just need to strip back and resort to doing the simpler things in life rather than adding on more ways to cope. I’m not saying that it can cure people of their mental illness but it is definitely an effective and simple way to cope when things seem unbearable.

All in all, I believe the probe was quite effective and hopefully it made her see that there are many simple ways in which she can combat her feelings of stress and anxiety. However, maybe next time I would try to tailor the activities to suit her more considering she doesn’t have a little nephew like me to enjoy these activities with. I should try to better gauge my audience to have a more effective outcome otherwise the probe could become redundant. I would also like to have a clearer aim/outcome for my probe. I didn’t think it through too much and was more going off my personal experience, hoping the other person would have the same one.

Talking about Mental Health



Happy Friday Night, hanging out with friends! (Ng 2016)


POST 5 // Approaches to Design for Change/Design-led Ethnography

By Eugenie Park



During class in Week 3, we were given the task to interview one of our peers about our specific issues. And so the following week, I conducted my interview about mental health. The following outlines the ideas spoken by the interviewees; Michael, Sarah and David**.

Mental health is a disease, something that is equally as painful and difficult as a physical disease. Despite a growing number of people suffering from mental illness’ it doesn’t seem to be an issue that is discussed more openly. All three feel strongly little is being done to help those and their families.

All three people knew of at least one or two people experiencing mental health issues, depression and anxiety being the most common. However, Sarah thought there would be more that she did not know of as she understands that this is a personal issue that some people have difficulty talking about. As the topic is delicate and sensitive, they felt that unless a friend or family member confided in them first they would not bring it up. Michael stated that perhaps another reason for the absence of discussion between his friends could be influenced by his Korean background. Most Korean people do not speak of mental illness as it is still not understood and thus not seen as ‘real’.

All three interviewees are aware of the difficulties of dealing with mental health issues by themselves, and so it anyone were to come to them for support they would listen and help find ways to manage their illness. Advice would be given however without the proper education this would be limiting and so professional help would be suggested. Understanding the seriousness of mental illness and the courage it takes to confide in someone, all three interviewees would not turn them away. When it came to confiding their own mental health issues with others, each person hesitated. David stated he would keep it to himself and only seek help when it reached a point where it was too difficult for him to handle by himself. He was not sure why this was the case however believed it may be because he himself would not know accurately whether he was experiencing a mental illness. David found that speaking to a counsellor or psychologist would be easier as they would not have any standard for him or his background. Sarah and Michael replied that they would confide in only their closest of friends or family members rather than professionals at first due to the personal nature of the problem, however would not hesitate to seek professional help with the support of those friends or family.

The internet was the first source of information to find out about mental health. Whether it was just for knowledge or for self-diagnosis, the internet is easiest to use and although not being the most accurate, it comes with a sense of anonymity and security. The interviewees were not aware of the mental health services that are available in the community, or did know but did not know how to access them. On the other hand, most knew of mental health movements through social media such as ‘R U Okay’ and the 22 Push Up Challenge.

When it comes to stress, Sarah and Michael admit they doesn’t work well under it. They aren’t able to concentrate or focus which limits their productivity and creates frustration. David stated that he enjoyed working under some stress as it helped him to work harder and faster. However there is a threshold and when it passes this point, productivity decreases and procrastination kicks in. Ways in dealing with stress included taking a break and talking with friends, having a snack or cup of coffee or the most popular, taking a quick nap.

With the interviews being complete, each person was told about the theory of creativity and mental health. It was interesting to note that Sarah had no knowledge that the two were interrelated. David and Michael had some vague understanding that the two could be related from their knowledge of famous artists and writers.


The interviewees were asked to draw an image at the end of each day that represented how they felt the overall day went. They would be limited to drawing with only circles, however colour and size were her choice. Under the image, they would write one sentence describing the image.

The following drawing are the results of the probe.

Interviewee 1 // Sarah, Female, Chinese, 22, Visual Communications


Despite not knowing about the correlation between creativity and mental health, it was interesting to see that Sarah had chosen to use colour and greater detail on the days that she was feeling positive.

Interviewee 2 // David, Male, 25, Korean, Dental Health


David stuck to the notion of circles, using a greater number of circles and space on days with higher emotion.

Interviewee 3 // Michael, Male, 22, Australian, Media Communications


Despite not being in the creative field, Michael has chosen to express days of high emotion with detail and creativity.

Success and Failure

This probe was interesting to see how each person interpreted the task. I think the probe was successful in some aspects as it helped me to see how different people work under stress. As the probe was undertaken by both people in and out of the creative industry, it was interesting to see the similarities and differences between the results.

Working as a group of images, I feel like the probe was a failure as each person had interpreted the task in different ways. It was also hard to measure the scale of creativity for each image as there is no definite answer; something that previous studies have documented in their scholarly articles.

Alterations of the Probe

Although I thought the probe was quite simple and controlled, having asked multiple people to under take the same probe, the task was interpreted differently. I also realized that some people had taken a literal approach to their drawings, trying to depict an activity or event that happened during the day rather than their feelings.

If I were to do this probe again, I would set different parameters; limiting participants to one circle and drawing around it to express their emotions. I would also ask participants to rate how they felt on the day on a scale of 1-10 (1 being bad and 10 being happy). This along with their explanation would help to moderate the results in a group.

5 Point Summary

  • Talking to a few people, most stated initially stated that mental illness is an issue but nothing is being done about it. Many young people aged 18-25 don’t know where to go to seek help or how to go about dealing with the issue. Many people also do not know that they are experiencing mental health issues until later on which makes treatment more difficult.
  • Different cultures have different positions on mental health. Asian culture typically looks down upon those with mental health issues as it creates connotations of weakness and thus stops people from seeking treatment. Not wanting to be ostracised and bringing shame to the family is a huge factor for people not talking about or reaching out for help.
  • Although some people know about the relationship between creativity and mental illness, some do not. Most people think this is a coincidence that does not have scientific or any supporting evidence. Studies show there is a relationship between the two notions however it is weak. However, it is true that treating mental illness through creative means such as narrative therapy does help individuals dealing with mental health issues.
  • People find the internet as their go to source for research on mental health; finding a diagnosis, although not being 100% accurate, is easy and something they can do privately within their own homes as well as having the extra factor of being anonymous. Despite having close friends and family members, all interviewee’s stated difficulty with bringing up the conversation.
  • Education seems to be a big issue with mental health. Some people despite wanting to help friends or family member with their mental illness, are not sure what to do or how to go about it. It could be as simple as asking them how their day was or being there in tough times, however those with mental health issues have stated that it is sometimes difficult to describe or talk their experience as they feel others would not understand. Therefor education about mental health and being able to empathise is vital to help prevent and monitor the issue.


The process of interviewing was a vital part of my research as it helped me to gain insight into how other people view mental health. Having a simple discussion with others and talking about the issue, reminded me of exactly why I had chosen to research mental health. Support. Support plays such a big factor in treating mental health and definitely changes the experience of those suffering from it. Many friends and family members have found it difficult to support close ones with mental health issues and have stated that there are not many resources for them to learn from. On the other hand, many people with mental health issues believe that those who do not suffer would not be able to understand their ordeal which prevents them from speaking about their problems. I believe a strong support network would help combat this issue as friends and family would be trained and educated to empathize. Support is vital to help ease the negative experiences of mental illnesses.


**Names have been changed



Malchiodi, C. 2013, “My Years in Tree Rings”, Pinterest, viewed 30 August 2016 <;

Mapping the participants

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Prior to this exercise, I didn’t have much knowledge of who which stakeholders were involved with mental health. The results from our mapping indicated that it was mainly NGO’s and individuals that were heavily involved with mental health. It became apparent to our group that we didn’t know anyone famous or popularly known who represented/acted as an advocate for mental health. However, after doing some research, I was surprised to see that there were quite a few actresses and actors that actively seek to break the stigma surrounding mental health. Many of them, you wouldn’t suspect have/had dealt with mental illness, especially since they are always in the spot light and are expected to have it “all together.” Jack Harries, a famous YouTube star revealed his struggle with mental illness in a video in an effort to encourage conversation about the topic,”Mental health disabilities are an illness, not a weakness. They are an issue, not an identity.” Other stars such as Demi Lovato and Pete Wentz, use music as their way of addressing their struggles with mental illness and are active advocates by speaking and being honest in public about their experiences. It was encouraging to see what these distinguished individuals were doing for the name of mental health and it made me realise that mental illness can affect anyone but that doesn’t mean that it has to hinder you from achieving what you want in life. For these celebrities, their fame is their common tie and it is through their exposure that they aim to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Other stakeholders that played a major part in the support and awareness of mental illness were the NGO’s. There are many well known NGO’s within Australia which offer help and guidance to those in need. The NGO’s share the same values as those celebrities that seek to raise awareness. Often, these celebrities endorse NGO’s and their campaigns to gain bigger exposure and to reach the masses. For example, one of Australia’s most well known actors, Hugh Jackman, has endorsed the campaign, R U OK? R U OK is a nationwide campaign that aims to clear the stigma surrounding mental illness and seeks to open up channels of communication between one another. Hugh Jackman, features in a short YouTube clip, with other fellow stars such as Naomi Watts, Simon Baker and Jack Thompson. Other well known NGO’s and helplines in Australia include Beyond Blue, Black Dog Institute, Kids Helpline and Lifeline. Although there are many helplines and organisations that help aid those dealing with mental illness, we realised that there weren’t many politicians that we knew that actively support mental health. We believed that politicians and policy makers were the stakeholders that should have the most involvement because of their resources and influence over the nation. If the government could direct more funds to the aid and prevention on mental illness there could most definitely be a greater drop in statistics.

Van Gogh (1890)

At Eternity’s Gate is one of Vincent Van Gogh’s most famous works, which he painted just over two months before his death. Van Gogh was an artist that suffered from many mental illnesses, severe depression being one. The painting features Adrianus Jacobus Zuyderland, a pensioner and war veteran. Being through such painful experiences, Van Gogh felt a strong affiliation with his subject and this painting acts almost like a mirror, reflecting the pain and suffering of Van Gogh. I picked Van Gogh and this painting in particular because I believe it encapsulates the raw emotion and sense of helplessness one experiences from mental illness. When people, particularly those who have or are experiencing mental illness, look at this painting they feel some sort of affiliation with the subject. This painting and many more of Van Gogh’s, although considered ‘old’, are timeless creative expressions of mental illness and it’s effects on ones way of thinking/outlook on life. They don’t campaign against the stigma of mental illness or particularly encourage awareness of mental health but rather they are honest and raw pieces that allow others to enter a world tainted by isolation and fear.

Disable The Label (2012)

This artwork is quite different from the first. It is a poster by an artist unknown that has shared their work on a blogpost called Disable The Label. On this blog, a handful of artists have created posters to break down the stigmas surrounding mental illness and to educate those who don’t know much about it. What I liked about this poster is that it’s so simple and straight to the point. The visual reference to the chemicals sitting on a seesaw on the brain instantly suggests the connection between science and mental illness.  It addresses the common misconception about depression being an active choice, something that people choose to go through and shows that depression can be the product of a chemical imbalance. Often, when people have depression, they are told to “just get over it” or “choose to be happy” but in reality the science behind depression is a lot more complicated then we understand.

Disable The Label (2012)

Another poster I found from the same blog has a lighter and more humorous take on breaking down the stigmas of mental illness. The comic like illustrations show two contrasting scenarios of a conversation between a man and a gorilla and a conversation between two men. The first conversation shows a rather frightening situation to be in whilst the second is a scenario we are all familiar with. This contrast shows that it’s okay to be open about mental health and the struggles with face. It encourages us to be brave enough to be open and to also take the initiative to ask others how they are because we never know what they might be going through. I like this poster because it’s not too heavy but gets its point across quite directly and is very relatable to most people. Most of the articles and text I have found surrounding mental illness can be quite morbid and confronting but this poster shows that the prevention of mental illness can be done in the most simplest of ways.

you cant see
Hattersley (2013)

This poster was created by graphic designer, Siobhan Hattersley from the UK. Her poster seeks to raise awareness of the stigma surrounding mental health. This time in a more direct way than the previous poster I showed. Her use of simple vectors, large text and the colour bright red grabs our attention and is straight to the point. The uniformity of the men and women vectors effectively convey the fact that mental illness is an invisible illness and it can be present in anyone. Also, the use of the colour red, often affiliates with health or a sense of urgency adding more of an impact to the poster. This poster is definitely a lot more confronting but doesn’t shy away from addressing the stigmas mental illness faces. What I don’t like about the poster however, is the supporting text underneath the graphics. Although it is somewhat informative, it doesn’t really relate to the stigma that mental illness is invisible and can’t always be detected. It sounds a little patronising towards the end. People aren’t meant to feel accused but rather informed and I feel that her message overall could have been communicated more clearer.

Smith (2012)


Smith (2012)

Graphic designer, Patrick Smith, has created these minimalist posters “erasing the stigma attached” to certain disorders. What I love about these series of posters is Smith’s minimal use of graphics and text. His simplicity with shapes and colour are witty and perfectly illustrate these mental disorders. The wit is not there to make fun of mental illness but rather it breaks down a heavy and complex topic into a visual that is easy for us to understand, “the designer wanted to see if he could create attractive, informative and minimalist graphics that would explain each condition”. With this simplicity it makes it easy for the audience to gain a better understanding of what these disorders feel like and it does it in a less confronting way than others.

R U OK Metrolite
R U OK? (2013)

From the nationwide campaign, R U OK?, created this poster to raise awareness for the organisation. It’s a clever poster that encourages us to ask the simple question, are you okay? Often we talk about so many things in our day with other people but we don’t take enough time to see how others are going. In the poster we see many words that act as a frame for the poster. When people view the poster they begin to create sentences from those surrounding words which cleverly engages the audience. The aim of the campaign is clearly communicated and again, shows that a single question is a simple way to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness and to help someone who is struggling. It opens up communication channels between people and fosters a environment of honestly. What I really love about these campaign posters from R U OK? is the simplicity and light heartedness. It allows others to feel comfortable and confident about being honest in their own struggles and raises awareness to those that don’t feel the effects of mental illness.

David vs exams
Headspace Australia (2013)

Headspace Australia, is another NGO that offers help and guidance to young Australians experiencing different kinds of mental illnesses. They came up with a series of graphics that look like movie posters which I found really impactful and relatable. This first poster shows a situation any student knows too well. In a world that is aggressively competitive and that is full of deadlines and chaos, students often feel overwhelmed and stressed which usually leads to anxiety. They feel the pressure to perform and succeed otherwise they will fail and lead an unsuccessful life. However amongst this chaos and harsh reality, Headspace lends a helping hand to those who are finding it hard to cope. The visual metaphor of exams physically versing the student allows many to identify with this feeling of fear but encourages them to reach out. It shows that Headspace understands the struggles of todays youth and is there to see them through.

Sophia vs cyber beast
Headspace Australia (2013)

Another poster from the series which really stood out to me was this one. Our generation and the future ones to come are growing up in a digital world. Everything we do is online, shared, circulated and on display. This advance in technology has opened up a new world of bullying and pressure which has increased the statistics of mental illness in todays youth. Because on the internet you can be whoever you want to be and to hide your identity it makes it a lot easier to target others and bully them. It makes a lot of people afraid to show who they truly are or to express themselves. This added pressure and paranoia can make it hard for young people to function and this poster clearly encapsulates this issue surrounding mental illness. Again, Headspace has targeted a situation that many of Australia’s youth know all too well, allowing them to feel comfortable seeking help from them and which effectively communicates the purpose of the organisation.

Disable The Label (2012)

This poster was one that caught my eye as it was quite confronting. Often those dealing with mental illness are labelled as “crazy” or as the poster shows, “a nutter”. This is  one of the biggest and most detrimental stigmas attached with mental illness because these thoughtless labels only cause more damage for those dealing with it. I think it was really appropriate to feature a young boy on the poster because a lot of the time children and adolescence can say things without thinking and those that endure mental illness throughout school are often the subject of bullying. It instills sympathy and questions the way we view mental illness. Although this poster is quite confronting it doesn’t seek to sugar coat the situation and it has a direct impact on its audience. The poster challenges us to think before we say and to realise that when we say things out of ignorance they can be extremely damaging.

1.) MTV 2016, 15 Celebrities that are Shutting down Stigmas about Mental Illness, viewed 26 August 2016, <;
2.) Van Gogh 2009, At Eternity’s Gate, 1890 by Vincent Van Gogh, viewed 26 August 2016,
3.) Disable The Label WordPress 2012, “Disabling the Label” of teenage mental illness, weblog, viewed 25 August 2016,
4.) Connecting Up 2012, Celebrities, social media and merchandise – the R U OK? campaign is right on target, viewed 25 August 2016,
5.) Behance 2013, You can’t mental illness, viewed 25 August 2016,
6.) Web Urbanist 2016, Doctored Designs: 6 Minimalist Mental Disorder Posters,  viewed 25 August 2016,
7.) Campaign Brief 2013, R U OK? Foundation launches quirky convos campaign to help prevent suicide via OgilvyOne, viewed 25 August 2016,
8.) Pinterest Headspace 2012, We’ve got your back, viewed 26 August 2016,

1.) Van Gogh V. 1890, At Eternity’s Gate,, viewed 26 August 2016,
2.) Disable The Label 2012, Names Don’t Help, WordPress, viewed 25 August 2016,
3.) Disable The Label 2012, Mental Illness is a REAL illness, WordPress, viewed 25 August 2016,
4.) Disable The Label 2012, …because some conversations are easier than others!, WordPress, viewed 25 August 2016,
5.) Hattersley S. 2013, You can’t see mental illness, Behance, viewed 25 August 2016,
6.) Campaign Brief 2013, R U OK?, viewed 25 August 2016,
7.) Headspace 2013, Sophia vs the Cyber Beast, Pinterest, viewed 25 August 2016,
8.) Headspace 2013, David vs the Avanalanche of Exams, Pinterest, viewed 25 August 2016,



Stake Holders and Images of Mental Health

“Having a mental illness may make daily things more challenging or extreme, but it’s definitely not black and white” (Rubyetc 2016)


POST 3 // Mapping the Participants (Human and Non-Human) and Constructing an Image Archive

By Eugenie Park



Developing the stake holders map in class was interesting to make as helped us to put into perspective all the human and non human stake holders that were involved with mental health. It was difficult at first as my knowledge was limited. There were the basic and well known mental health services such as Beyond Blue and Headspace however that was it. Our original stake holders map is pictured below.

Initial Stake Holders Map 

After reading more into mental health, I further developed the mind map. It was interesting to see that a lot of the stake holders overlapped with similar services or values.

Refined Stake Holders Map

We then went on to map out the stake holders in terms of influence, knowledge and engagement and it was interesting to see how the entities divided and separated.

Influence of Stake Holders
Engagement of Stake Holders
Knowledge of Stake Holders

Despite being in a high position of power, we decided as a group that politicians and policy makers were not in tune with mental health issues. Funding cuts we believe deter the development of services that are needed to help the community educate and prevent the progression of mental illnesses. Individuals, NGO’s and educators were the main stake holders that played a key part in the issue as these entities were able to connect to individuals on a more personal level. Social media did not have a high rating in terms of knowledge but we believed that it has the influence to change individuals perspective on mental health issues as well as engage with them on a more personal level. There are many movements going through social media including the 22 Push Up Challenge which brings awareness to the deaths of veterans due to suicide from mental health issues to #ItsOkayToTalk which promotes the idea that encouraging conversation about mental health and suicide could reduce the stigma that prevents men from speaking up about their ordeal.

Despite there being many stake holders within the issue of mental health, a lot of those in positions that can help create greater change are not doing much. Despite the growing concerns and deaths to mental illness, I haven’t been able to see mental health care services advertising or promoting the discussion of mental health.



It’s Hardly Noticeable XX

Keedy (2014)

“It’s Hardly Noticeable” is a series of photographs taken by John William Keedy. Keedy has documented his personal experience with anxiety and his troubles with accepting it. This particular photograph highlights that his struggles with anxiety were not purely psychological but also physical. Keedy has noted that this photograph is the most personal and most nervous. He recounts how his illness made it difficult for him to reach out to people. Despite wanting to talk to friends and meet them, there was something physical that was keeping him back. The image captures the pain that people with anxiety have to go through to do the simplest of tasks. This image reminds us that people with mental illness’ have difficulties doing everyday tasks and they themselves don’t know why its not possible. Representing this psychological effect as a physical pain, the audience is able to understand a little more about the experience of anxiety.


Idling Life Cause/Feeling Suicidal

Honaker (2015)

“Idling Life Cause/Feeling Suicidal” captures a man, waist deep in a lake, holding onto a white balloon. This photograph is a series that embodies Edward Honaker’s experience with depression and anxiety. Honaker features in the photographs however his face is covered or blurred within the series to convey the helplessness felt by someone who is battling a depressive disorder.

“Your mind is who you are, and when it doesn’t work properly, it’s scary”

This black and white photograph capture the conflicting emotions felt by those suffering from mental illness’. Despite being waist deep in the lake, he holds onto the white balloon, surrendering to the troubles but simultaneously silently calling for help. The stillness of the water is juxtaposed to the racing thoughts within the mind. These photographs also like many articles or books, act to break the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourages those who are currently suffering to seek help.


“I am going to cry and then I will stop but then I will do some more later”

Ruby (2015)

Ruby, known as rubyetc, has drawn comics that reflect her ‘illxperiences’ with mental health issues and bipolar disorder. Drawing these comics was a way of relief for the feelings she could not verbalise. The comics are real and sometimes vulgar, as she presents her experiences with out any type of sugar coating. This way she hopes that people can reading will relate and laugh too. Although her drawings are simple, her forms and facial expressions alongside the short text creates stories that we can all relate to. The above comic highlights the idea of emotion and the inevitability of the ups and downs. The way she has written the text also presents the idea of crying as another aspect that needs to be done like eating breakfast or buying the groceries. Unlike scholarly articles or blogs, these images contain humour, something i think people are afraid to do when it comes to mental illness as it is a sensitive issue. The reason why these images are so effective, I feel is because Ruby has her own first hand experience and tries to channel this in a humorous form.


“Do Mentally Ill People ’Scare’ You?”

Emma (2014)

Emma from ‘The Madvocate’ has created a series of thought-provoking images by placing Google searches of mental illnesses onto images of famous people who had them. The negative stereotypes and misconceptions shows the audience how society views mental illness and highlights the strength of the stigma that surrounds this issue. Juxtaposing these thoughts and comments upon faces of worldly successful and recognisable people, she breaks the stereotype and shows the audience how wrong these preconceptions of mental illness are. These images show just how difficult it is for people with mental illness to seek help due to these negative comments and thoughts. Although she is not a mental health professional, she has her own personal experience with mental health issues and likes to talk and write about mental illness. She shares her own writing and resources about mental health on her blog.


Mental Disorders are not Adjectives

Gallop (2015)

This image shows the current situation of mental illness. The use of these terms being used lightly does not make it easier for people experiencing these mental illness’ as it brings down the seriousness. This image was found on a blog that also makes note of the comments that people make in terms of dealing with mental illness. Comments like “You have a great life and other people have it worse” and “Just don’t think about it”, don’t help at all and shows how ignorant society is when it comes to mental illness. People are not adequately educated about mental illness despite the fact that more and more people are suffering. This image shows why we should talk more about mental health and start seeking ways to help those that are experiencing troubles with mental health.


PET Scan of the Brain

Jayan (2013)

This image is a comparison of brain activity between someone who has depression and someone that does not. Despite the obvious difference between the two images, people still continue to think that mental illness’ are not ‘real’. This image shows the scientific representation of mental illness and definitely shows that those suffering from mental heath issues can’t ‘just get over it’. This image proves that more research needs to be done to find out mental health; its causes and effective treatments.


What’s Playing on your mind?

KK Oulet (2010)

This image is a series of photographs made by KK Outlet that highlights the benefits of being mindful. The brief was to ‘come up with a poster campaign to help the public understand the invaluable benefits of mindfulness, a simple and modern form of meditation that alleviates stress’. These photographs acts to possibly be an form of early intervention and prevention of mental health issues from developing. I feel as though this advertisement acts as a form of encouragement to those wanting to speak about their mental health issues; promotes people to seek help and reassures that it is okay. Education is a key factor to help deal with mental health issues and possibly reduce the number of people effected.


The Mirage of Psychiatric Drugs

Ucini (2016)

This illustration depicts the facade that psychiatric drugs help ‘fix’ mental illness. Taking these drugs are one form of treatment and is not necessarily the best. There is a misconception that taking these drugs is will treat individuals; as simple as taking one pill. However this is not the case as mental illness’ are more complex. Treating mental illness is different for everyone and treatment is multifaceted. Psychiatric drugs can be effective however the underlying cause of the mental illness needs to be addressed. Treating those with mental illness’ needs to be done with long term success in mind.


You are not Al(one)

Maasik (2014)

The images used here work to bring awareness to mental health and reduce the stigma associated with it. The colourful and unique portraits were created to prevent social exclusion of those with mental illness and encourage those to seek help and assistance from mental health services. The portraits are metaphors that bring to mind adjectives when one feels anxious or depressed. These images represents the feelings of those with mental health issues in a playful way to stir curiosity and attention; something that is needed for mental health. This campaign personalises the issue and makes the audience think.


I am… But my name is…

Chang (2013)

This ad is a general awareness campaign for Coast Mental Health that deals with fighting the stigma of mental illness. The image represents the idea that often a mental illness can take over the identity of the person which then stops surrounding people from approaching individuals. These images are direct and confronting as they place a name and face to their illness. This campaign represents the courage of the people experiencing mental illness as they admit they have an illness yet it does not define them. The individuals within the photographs are of different age, ethnicity and gender which represents the idea that anyone is susceptible to mental health issues.




Chang, C. 2013, I am… (But my name is…), Behance, viewed 25 August 2016 <>

Gallop, M. 2015, Anxiety and Depression 101, The Odyssey Online, viewed 25 August 2016 <;

Gavin, M. 2010, KK Outlet creative team and photographer Rob Murray create winning UK Poster Campaign for Mental Health Foundation, The Romaing Eye, viewed 25 August 2016 <>

Jayan, N. 2013, PET Scan of the Brain May Predict Treatment Outcome in Depression, MedIndia, viewed 25 August 2016 <;

Maasik, K. 2014, You Are Not Al(one), Behance, viewed 25 August 2016 <>

Warren, R. 2014, Do Mentally Ill People ‘Scare’ You?, Upworthy, viewed 25 August 2016 <;

Schuster, S. 2015, Fiesty comics about mental illness we can all relate to,  The Mighty, viewed 25 August 2016 <;

Singh, M. 2014. A Life of Anxiety Documented, NPR, viewed 25 August 2016 <;

Tempesta, E. 2015, Photographer suffering from depression capture his Mental Illness in haunting Series of self-portraits to raise awareness for the disorder, Daily Mail, viewed 25 August 2016 <;

Ucini, A. 2016, The Mirage of Psychiatic Drugs Editorial Illustration, Behance, viewed 25 August 2016 <

Post 5: Approaches to Design for Change, Design-led Ethnograph

I was randomly assigned to another person in my class to interview. The interview I conducted was to open my interviewee’s mind and make her more conscience about her feelings of her day. I started off my interview with warming her up and making her comfortable in this setting. After going through the warming up phase, I began prying my interviewee with my questions.


My questions were to ask them a series of questions that would let them discuss how they feel and ask whether they are conscious of their emotions. From these questions, I asked about their habits and reactions when they feel a certain way. I had expected my interviewee to understand the basics of Mental Health, to understand it to be an issue that was at large in Australia. Another large expectation I had was when I pried for her habits that she may attempt to continue to act in a way that would deepen those emotions.


Questions Outline:

  1. Hey! Hows your day been? What is the most memorable thing you’ve done today?  Do you think that made you happy/sad? Did it influence you in anyway ? Do you think you’re quicker to share bad news or good news more often? What do you remember more? (referring to bad good news)
  2. Do you think you’re a more optimistic person than you are a pessimist?
  3. What are some behaviours and habits you have when you’re feeling happy? What do you do? Do you treat yourself with good food, or share it with your closest friends. Do you snapchat it?
  4. When you’re upset, what habits do you engage with? Do you watch sad movies? What movies? Why?
  5. When you’re feeling these things what are you trying to do? Do you try and make yourself feel happier? Or worse?
  6. What do you think makes a good mental health?
  7. Do you think it’s an important issue in Australia?
  8. Why do you think so?
  9. Thank you for sharing this with me.



What I have discovered from this brief interview is that we as human go off in tangents, some ideas are not understood completely straight away and sometimes its the interviewer’s job to direct the interviewee into the ideas that the interviewers wanted to flesh out on.

Through asking these questions I believe my interviewee took notice of the things she did during the day, she also seemed overall more positive and delighted by the small things that happened for example she said one of her highlights were to buy her coffee for the day. Another enjoyable factor about this interview was that she was transparent and was brutally honest about her day as well as her opinions on her good and bad days.

I was fortunate to have interviewed someone who believed themselves to be optimistic. Her answers to my fourth question is overall predictable however one interesting idea is her lack of engagement with technology when she’s happy as she believes she enjoys ‘living’ as she has put it. She wasn’t able to get in depth what she does when she feels on the lower side of things as she doesn’t indulge in films but she does listen to more depressing music.

My interviewee was delighted to share that it isn’t in her nature to become more depressed if she is upset, she would call herself out of her mood and is perfectly able to cope with her emotional state. She has a strong attitude that highs and lows are fundamental to human feeling, and she allows these feelings to pass and appreciates them.



My probe was for my interviewee to go about her everyday and be aware of the conversations she was having. I asked her to create a digital ’emoji’ care package in response to the conversations she was having. This experiment was to get her to be aware of the conversation she was having, to be sensitive and to be selective of the right emojis to respond. With our interview in her mind this would help her appreciate the words and actions she can contribute to the other person.


Results & Analysis:


Emoji’s are becoming a new way of expressing emotions and helps contextualise the words we send digitally to each other. They help aid in the understanding of ideas. What I had gotten my interviewee to do was basically understand the words and conversations she was having.

The emoji care packages she has made a brief and short, but each collection shows an interesting story. I didn’t ask my interviewee to tell me the contents of the conversation, but these emoji care packages have been diverse. Visuals are usually quite positive in nature, there are a few sad emojis but overall the positive emojis are used more often.


Next Time:

If I had the chance to conduct this interview again, I would lengthen the questionnaire, in order to flesh out ideas further. I also would get my interviewee to collect the responses from those she was speaking to as well. Also ask for a further summation interview to ask how the probe went and if she felt she had learnt anything from the experience as well.

Post6: Scraping the web for data


Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing app, it is a networking platform, just like facebook, twitter, but this is a new app, it was launched in October 2010 as a free mobile app. Instagram can add borders to the picture and there are multiple filters can be chosen, you can share to multiple social networking sites at the same time, you can also interact with each others, friends can comment and thumbs up for pictures. Compared with other social softwares, this software has more young users, and I also want to research the mental health of teenagers, I think it would be a good software to research, I can get more ideas. In fact, when people released pictures here, they can use different filters, their choice of filters for each pictures also can present their mental activities. For me, the text or filter of each image both are elements those can be observed.


a flow chart graphic

Open the Instagram, we will find a search function, here, I can search some words those can be closely related to teenagers’ mental health, they can be some feelings or some reasons of teenagers’ mental illness, after searching, it would present lots of images those are tagged with the word that I searched, I can observe and research the filter or text with each image and developed it to contact with my issues. 




When I searched the word ‘depression’, there is a B&W image, there isa few words and it told us the poster want somebody to come back, but this person would never come back. Through reading the text, we can know it clearly, there are many words be tagged below the texts, I think these words can represent the poster’s mood at that moment, most of words are negative. Lovelorn is a common problem for teenagers, they are young and they are always be hopeful with love, some disappointed results always blow to them, in the schools, the emotional problem is one of the reasons that would impact on teenagers’ mental health, but their parents always can’t find the problem in this aspect. 



parents divorce


Through my previous research, I know the relationships between parents have a great impact on teenagers. In these two images, both of them are tagged ‘parents divorce’, they show us a negative feeling. In the first one, the person drunk a lot and the second one show is a messy bedroom, both of them are awful situations, parents divorce must affect on children, they don’t have time or energy to take care their children, at that time, these teenagers are always influenced by other and get mental illness finally. 



study pressure




mental activity


As same as before, from these examples, we can the positive and negative sides of these posters’ mental, different people would have a different thought about a same thing, this is the complexity of mental health problem, this is an issue that need me to do more research.


The different mental activities would be shown as a different filter on their image.

Through my observation on Instagram, I found a lot of people like to show their inner thoughts and mental activities on social software. When I searched, the posts about mental health is thousands upon thousands, from this, we can see a lot of young person feel confused with their mental, they don’t want to talk with surrounding people, they prefer to present their feelings online, maybe for teenagers, online system would be a better platform to record or present their mental activities. 


Post5: Approaches to design for change, design-led ethnography


  • What do u know about teenagers’ mental health care?

-In China, people are still no attention on teenager’s mental health, but in Australia, mental health has become very common, as I understand it, the mental health care center is very profitable in Australia, people also attaches a great importance to this aspect of their children.

  • What do u think about online mental health care?

-I think mental health care would be better in ‘face to face’ way, doctors can understand the feelings of  patients more directly, the online care just can know information about patients by texts,  I think it can’t get an effective treatment result. Sometimes, the confidentiality of network data is not particularly good, patients’ information might be compromised. For myself, I prefer to see doctor directly and talk with them to know more about my mental health situations.

  • What should we do for teenagers’ mental health care?

-Actually, I think I am a part of teenagers, so we can care for them, make friends with them, communicate with them, we can’t discriminate against them, wen have to treat them like ordinary people, if we have more spare time, we can be a volunteer in some activities about teenagers’ mental health care.

  • Which part would be more important for teenagers’ mental health care, parents, teachers, community or themselves?

-I think it needs to have a balance between them, maybe they can cooperate or communicate with each others, at different times, teenagers will be in a different environment, so they need different people to supervise and inspect their mental health, for examples, at home, parents need to concerned about children’s mental health, in the school, it needs teachers or school’s help, between parents and teachers, there needs a good platform to communicate about each teenager’s mental health problem.

  • Do u know any organizations or institutions about teenagers’ mental health?

-To be honest, poorly understood. In china, this regard does not mature yet and people don’t have a high attention on children’s mental health problem. When I was in high school, sometimes there will be some experts or doctors come to school and do a speech about mental health, I think the school always promote this problem but no any helpful actions. Although many schools focus on promoting it and emphasizing the importance of mental health, however, in the action, they ignored how to create a good mental health environment and atmosphere, how to improve the abilities of students’ self-discovery and self-solve problems. Although many schools have a  mental health teacher, they always encourage students to face mental health problems and consult teacher consult, but the mental health teacher rarely be in an advantageous position.

  • In the process of ur mental health care, would u prefer to have an external (doctors, relevant agencies) helps and interventions or do you want to have more companionship, care, and guidance from close people (parents, friend,teachers)?

-Of course, I want close people to give me more care and they can understand me. Actually, I think a big part of reasons those can impact on adolescent mental health come from the environments around them, such as the relationship between their parents at home, be hard get along with friends and teachers  and study pressures in schools.  To solve a problem, find the root of this problem is the most important. For myself, I think it’s much easier to open up and talk about my feelings with the people around me, their guidance can relieve the pressure on my mental health.

  • In your life, what things or people are most likely to affect your mental activities?

-When I was younger, I think the relationships between my parents or between me and my parents are always affect me, I always feel that parents don’t understand me and I don’t want to communicate with them. In the school, teachers always put pressure on my studies, so I felt particularly bad at that time. But I can communicate better with other people now, so I think more problems are from myself or school, I am concerned about my studies and feel confused about my future after graduation.

  • When somethings or someones affected on your mental health, what would you do or say to make yourself feel better?

-In fact, there is a generation gap with my parents in the past and I am not close with teachers in the school, so my feelings lucking in my mind when I felt confused or talk with my friends sometimes. But now, I can communicate well with my parents and teachers, if I have any problems on my studies or works, they will patiently enlighten, encourage and support me, sometimes, when I was under a lot of pressure, I would go running, I always think this is a good way to reduce pressure.

  • In the process of your growth, do you think what aspects are lacking on your mental health care?

-As I mentioned before, I felt difficult to communicate with parents and teachers at that time, sometimes parents don’t know what happened when I was studying in the school, so they can’t know the whole situation about me, it seems there would be a generation gap between us. In the school, the teachers don’t want to know more about our family life, they just urge us to study harder and harder, so I always felt helpless at that time, I really want to get other people’s care and understandings.

  • Can you give me an example to describe this situation more directly?

-I think may be I don’t  have a particularly good story, i can tell you a story about my friend, in my junior high school,  I think she is a particularly smart and beautiful girl, probably she was in a rebellious phase at that time, so she was impacted by other students easily and had some bad habits, her parents didn’t persuade her and they abused her, so she became worse and worse, the teachers in school didn’t care about her anymore, her parents and teachers  didn’t communicate well, even there were some misunderstanding between them, after that, this girl started to do some extreme behavior, such as hunger strikes and suicide, finally, she dropped out of school. Actually, I always think, if school and her parents can put more efforts into this thing and select some positive ways to encourage her, perhaps the result would be different.


In class, we discussed many ways to record our survey, I decided to let my interviewee use emojis to record her daily mood and the reasons those affect her mood. She is a 20 year-old girl, I think she belongs to teenagers period, so it will help me to understand the reasons those impact on adolescent mental health, after knowing the reasons more clear and thorough can help me to make a useful service design for solving the mental heath problem in my future studies. 



See more details:probe

Although this is just a short-time record, it does not represent all people’s mental activity, from the record in this form, I  can see the influence on her mental health from various aspects in her life, the most pressure and impacts from school and her life, in her records, we can see her parents (family) gave her a lot of care and help, in this view, school, community, families are three indispensable parts in adolescent mental health.

5 point summary

  • On the mental health problems of teenagers, the communication between schools and parents is essential.
  • About the reasons of adolescent mental health problems, most of them are from the surrounding environment, family relations, academic pressure and etc.
  • Schools can not just do promotions about mental health knowledge, they should take more action to create a favorable mental health environment and atmosphere, to improve students’ ability of self-discovery and self-solving problems.
  • Community has increasingly recognized the importance of adolescent mental health, however, about actual actions, the community need to do more about management of those entertainment venues and the bad environments around schools those would affect the growth of teenagers adversely, to create an atmosphere that the whole society and businesses are concerned about the mental health growth of adolescent.
  • In my future studies, I can put more attention on the research about the importance of the connections between  schools and parents for adolescent mental health, there may be can have an associated service design exists on communications between teachers and parents, perhaps this would be a good help for adolescent mental health.


Post3: Mapping the participants (human and non-human) and constructing an image archive

IMG_7108 (1)
groupwork map in class
refined map

See more details: mental health

adolescence map

See more details: adolescence


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See more details: stakeholder analyse

In the class, our group do an analysis about mental health from 6 aspects, the map listed all words those can be related with mental health, any organizations, person or feelings. After that, we choose adolescence as a topic to do more analysis, we listed some reasons those would influence teenagers’ mental health, we can see the teenagers are still in development of physiological and psychological, their ability of cognitive and self-control are not strong enough, they were influenced by exterior environments particularly. About how to solve the problems of adolescent mental health, it needs more helps from parents, schools(teachers) and community. And then, we listed all stakeholders on sticky note those are associated with mental health and analyze them. From little influence to heavy influence, little knowledge to heavy knowledge, little engagement to heavy engagement, we did three maps to arrange stakeholders from left to right, these can help us to understand which parts should we focused on researching in this topic.


resaon: violence

This image presents a scene of violence, perpetrator has a belt in the hand and a child is abused, he curls herself into a ball in the corner, you can see his fear, helplessness, hopelessness and other negative feelings. Teenagers’ mental health problem can be caused by different factors, the behaviors of this abused child in this image can tell us a fact directly, they are not only get hurt on their body, but it also is difficult to repair the trauma for them. The abused children are always be of weak character and more sensitive, they would be easier to get a mental health problem.


reason: family relationship

In the second image, we will see a helpless child in the first sight, and there are two person was quarreling on his back, in my opinion, they should be this child’s parents, on my previous research, there are many resources mentioned that parents would be an important role in the process of psychotherapy for adolescents. We can see the relationship between parents or a family environment would have a certain impact on kids’ mental, it might become a more serious mental illness in their teenage years.


reason: study pressure

The previous pictures demonstrate the causes of adolescent mental illness, both of them are mainly from the family, for teenagers, school is another main living environment, if the school doesn’t create a good psychological environment and atmosphere, the pressure of study would be another factor of mental illness. In these images, they didn’t show us the direct connections between these situations and adolescent mental illness, but from each one’s expressions or body movements in these images, we can see the negative influence in their mental. In this image, we can see many books around him and his body language shows us changes in his mind and he fell hopelessness and depressed with his studies and future. 


main feelings&expressions

This drawing shows us feelings of patients with mental illness and their views about the surrounding people and environment directly, there are all negative feelings in their mind, they would feel unloved, frustrated, issues, nervous, shame, stress, depression, fear, grief, worthless, mad, sad, loneliness, anxiety and etc. On my previous research, a lot of news or articles talk about how to help young people avoid mental health problem, but before helping them, we should know more inner feelings of mental illness person, just like the project workings that I researched in last week, one of projects helps people to know more about mental patients, and understand their feelings.


a poster about mental health

This is a poster about mental health, it tells us some common situations about mental illness patients, they never know they are suffering from mental illness or they never admit they are suffering from mental illness, they always say: ‘I am fine, I am okay, do not worry about me, nothing wrong with me,’ at this time, the surrounding environment need to care and understand them, such as parents, school or community, do more communications with them and find this problem as soon as possible, just like the position in my first post, to help young people get a better way to prevent and solve mental health problems need helps from their family, school and community.


a data

This image shows us a data that twenty percent of teenagers seriously consider suicide and one in twelve each year attempt suicide, this fact tells us the importance of paying attentions on mental health issues and its risks and effects on adolescent development. If we don’t solve mental illness problem timely in adolescents, it would lead them to crime, even suicide, so we have to strengthen the mental health education for teenagers, it is necessary for their physical and mental health development, it also ensure teenagers can study and make friends well and this is also necessary for development of this community.


bad mental health

About bad mental health, this image tells us one fact that many people will be excluded themselves from this society if they don’t have a good mental health, they would refuse to communicate with others or integrate into society, they never join any social activities and they are not good at making friends, they are isolated and depression, even they would have antisocial behaviors and cause problems to community. Before, we discussed in class, when we think about the discrimination of mental health problem, we found that many people discriminate against mental illness person because they think mental illness is equivalent to crazy, they would cause serious harms to community by madness, at that time, we are opposed to this view, of course, the discrimination is wrong, mental illness is equivalent to crazy is wrong, but serious mental illness can cause people to do some extreme behaviors to this society is possible, so it is really essential to do a prevention and treatment of mental illness.


a mental health quote

In this image, there is a quote about mental health: “ sometimes mental health feels like an insurmountable object … but it get better with time.” In fact, this is an encouragement for people to have a right and positive attitude about mental illness, mental illness is not a problem that can be solved in a quick and easy way, it would take much time. As my previous research, teenagers are still developing their physiological and psychological, the ability of cognitive is not strong enough, they have a poor self-control, so parents should give them an unconditional love, enough patience and plenty of time to accompany them, the school should keep communication and contact with parents all the time and the community need to promote a positive attitude about mental illness in the public. All sides should take more time to improve this problem in  a better way.


a mental health quote

On the board in this image, there is a quote “stand up to stigma, let’s talk about mental health.” In my previous researches, there are a lot of information against about mental illness discriminations, and it also said that a lot of people still have a discrimination about mental illness now, this image is aim to encourage people to have a positive attitude about mental illness, it also encourage mental illness patients can admit it in a more generous way, people can talk about this issue anytime or anywhere. That’s why I think the community needs to do more publicity about mental health and popularize the mental health issue.


good mental heal

The last image tells us the benefits of a good mental health, the entire image give us a positive feeling, all person in this image are positive, people will become happier and be willing to make friends with a good mental health, the situation would be exactly opposite with image 7, people can integrate into community and get along with others in a better way. Everyone has a good mental health environment is also helpful for the development of the whole community.