10 – Reflect + Propose


As mentioned in my previous posts [08 and 09] I came into this week’s tutorial session with a fairly sound proposal in mind, one that I already felt quite strongly about pursuing. In essence, this design responds to the association of ‘choice’ with mental health and seeks to defy the limitations placed on the identity of those who are ill.

When proposing the functionality of the generative website it was suggested that a level of curation will still need to be involved. The purpose of which wouldn’t be to limit responses to those that I personally agree or identify with, but rather to determine whether they are indeed related to the issue and respectful to the actors involved.

Whilst explaining the intended digital and physical output of my generative design proposal it became evident that as a curated design, the postcard series does also fall within the sphere of poetic data visualisation.

The most interesting aspect of the postcards is the idea of combining statements to illustrate an intriguing, humorous or critical point. Furthermore, the continued engagement beyond the parameters of the original design would be interesting to explore. A hashtag could be attributed to the project to encourage sharing of stories and further increasing the reach of the work, which ultimately seeks to provoke open discussion and prompt genuine understanding. By including a hashtag on the postcards further statements can be sourced to feed back into the original generative website format.

draft proposal sketches
Draft proposal sketches

Continue reading “10 – Reflect + Propose”


Post 10: Drawn in Blue

From the draft proposal workshop last week, I was able to garner valuable feedback and suggested refinements on my issue’s design proposal. While the majority of the workshop catered to collecting feedback from one peer, the informal and casual atmosphere of the classroom allowed pairs to discuss in groups with each other. Thus, I was able to collect feedback from a variety of perspectives from people who researched different areas. The casual nature of the experience allowed for a very non-judgmental attitude when we shared ideas and offered suggestions, creating a space where we can constructively help each other.

With my paired peer, he understood and liked my idea, also offering many design suggestions on improving my proposal in order to create a more engaging system. Some of his suggestions included a ‘bad-ness’ rating system for a cop, creating annual or monthly police profiles based on the data collected from that term and sorting the data by geographic locations. He also gave me advice that I should consider the finer details of the project; for example, how long the project should run for and whether it is a global or localised project. Moreover, as I spoke to more of my peers about my proposal, they offered similar suggestions. One peer even suggesting that I create a rotoscope animation with the drawings. However upon speaking to my tutor, while he did enjoy my proposal, he noticed that its focus seemed to stem away from mental health and instead onto the idea of the police in general. He suggested that I try to bring back mental health as the main focus so that my project isn’t lost in the wider context of my research from this semester.

This workshop was quite fruitful. As such, I’ve refined my proposal with finer details and better design considerations offered by my peers, as well as highlighting mental health as the main focus.

Refined Proposal:

Project Title: Drawn in Blue (TBC)

Practice Type: Generative systems

The Issue: In the rising issue of excessive use of force by police, and their many cases of fatally shooting mentally ill persons being reported on almost daily, the public perceptions of this authoritative role in society has been met with chaos. Doubts, anger and demand for justice against those who deal out the justice have emerged, instigating many debates on public online forums and comment sections. This public perception of the police has encountered a precarious balance between their use of authority and their duty to society – are they protectors or abusers of the power? This becomes extremely problematic as it is generally taught in society that we reach out to the police when we are in dire need of help; but if a mentally ill person is afraid of the law enforcement because of the latter perspective in addition with the evidence of the fatal incidents, then how can they trust and seek help from these deemed protectors of society?

The Possible Change: Through this project, I hope to elicit the varying perspectives of different mentally ill people between the ideas of authority and protection. In visualising the data and analysing people’s reasons for drawing the way that they did, we can identify certain factors and trends that influence people’s perceptions of the police; especially when we gather data from people who suffer from different mental illnesses. People would be able to share their own personal experiences with the police, generating empathy towards all those involved which is dependent on each person’s circumstances. Identifying these factors can then prompt for changes in attitudes and behaviour towards the police as well as changes within the law enforcement’s system in order to better aid those with mental illnesses.

The Design Action to Support Change: The design response consists of two parts – first, a generative system where I would invite those who suffer from a mental illness to participate in a simple drawing exercise, and the second part would be organising the data from the exercise onto an interactive site.

The first part invite people who suffer from any mental illness, no matter how serious it is, to draw a simple drawing of how they view this person in blue. These people would be various in their circumstances of their illness – types of treatments, medication and therapy, whether they’ve been admitted to hospital for long term care, whether that admittance was forced or voluntary, if they’ve ever encountered the police because of their illness, and etc. Other information would include their age, gender and race. This information would be filled out after the drawing exercise on a printed questionnaire that also prompts to provide a reason onto why they drew their drawing the way that they did. The exercise would consist of simple paper and pencils – coloured and lead – making it easy for the participants to understand what to do. Participants are also encouraged to be as open with their interpretation of activity as they like.

The second part is where the works would then be collated and organised on a site. Users can then sort the drawings by the participant’s type of mental illness, type of treatment, admittance to hospital, history with the police, gender, age, race and geographical location. Depending on the parameter, users can also compare groups of data with other parameters to garner a better understanding of the issue. There is also an option to organise the drawings on a positive and negative spectrum to allow users to evaluate the wide variety of perspectives.

The project would be ongoing throughout a few years and initiated globally. This will allow for yearly and geographical comparisons as well as revisits to some of the participants to see if their perception has changed since their last submission.

Header Image:
Mijares, J. 2016, post 10 header, drawing, Sydney, Australia.

blog 9- Visual Documentation of The Brainstorming

By Marcella K. Handoko Kwee


The Mindmaps



The first mindmap shows several possible ways to make a difference in mental health issue in people age 18-25 very clearly. The starting point of the mindmap has already concluded the whole story of the mindmap. It is easy to recognise what the group is trying to say through the words “proactive” and “self-help”. According to dictionary, proactive means controlling a situation before anything has happened. The meaning of it is similar to prevention. Furthermore, self-help has a meaning of taking an independent action in order to take care of themselves. In other words, an action taken without relying on others’ help. Self-help can also be taken anywhere and anytime that suit their needs.

Mindfulness, learning about self-characters and personalities, turning mobile phone notifications off for a while, willing to change are few examples of prevention that can be taken in your free time at your private places. This is why it being referred as “self-help”. Although everything seems to be alright, there are few things that I would like to point out. Instead of putting repetitive words with similar meaning to the starting point title, such as “early prevention” and “proactivity”, we could use the space to explain how each action might contibute to change to the issue, how easy the action is to be taken by young adults age 18-25 without putting so much pressure/effort onto it. Furthermore, the mindmap shows that the group struggled to explain few things that are meant to be stretched a little further. One of these is how computer and colors are linked to emotions.

The second mindmap contains the same message as much as the first mindmap, which is some ways that people age 18-25 could do on their own in order to make a difference in mental health issue, however this mindmap tends to show us how we are supposed to control ourselves in the way we treat other people, which makes it slightly different from the first mindmap. Self-control (ownership) and situation-handling skills play important roles in this matter. One of the few things that can control the surroundings and the way the body and mind react to the situations is yourself. It is pretty much the same as self-help kind of treatment however, we can start supporting each other, help the others to deal with the problems and it starts from you. You can make a difference in others’ lives. If you have ever heard of this, being generous, helping others is a key to achieving happiness. Try to be more sensitive towards others’ feelings (how do you want to make people feel, think whether what you say is kind and true), learn kindness, practice mindfulness, train your brain are few examples of making a difference in mental health issue, for you and others.

blog 8- Possible Ways To Reduce Mental Illness

By Marcella K. Handoko Kwee


The Possibility

There are possible ways to make a difference in mental health issue in range of age between 18-25. People must take care of themselves physically and also emotionally. It has always been a great idea to be aware of what is happening inside the body and mind. In case they notice something wrong with them, people should actively take further steps to help themselves. Daily business can be a great distraction however, there is nothing wrong by constantly checking on themselves. It would be really wise to prevent further damages within mind and body than fix what has already happened.

Early prevention of mental illness must be considered seriously. Few examples of early prevention are:

  • Reduce time on social media and turn notifications off for a while. Social media notifications might cause people to feel anxious. Furthermore, the usage of mobile phone in the middle of night causes people to have restless sleep.
  • Build self-confidence/awakeness. Hopelessness is associated with depressive thought. People should try to shift their way of thinking for a bit to get their confidence back and keep moving on, willing to change.
  • Get familiar with, take your participation or build understanding in meditation app/video that might allow you to touch on particular point or to draw etc, self-help system/tool kit (mental health online/offine test), motivational quotes, yoga session, mental health organisation associated, counselling session, etc. What people would like to achieve from using these services are feelings that get better from the beginning to the end, awareness of mental state and analysis of habits (the good and the bad).
  • Practice mindfulness (brain training) regularly. Sense of mindfulness can be achieved through yoga or meditation practices. It helps in reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Get to know yourself, including characters and personalities. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, what you really want to achieve in life (life goals), vision and mission can help building self-identity, purpose. Feeling lost, not knowing what you really want in life and hopeless can be really stressful for people.
  • Learning about colors. Colors are associated with emotions, moods or feelings. People might try to corporate colors that create sense of calmness, happiness, relaxation into surroundings, such as computer desktop, bedroom wall, clothing, stationaries, garden etc.
  • Keep journal that allows you to pour out your deepest emotions privately, scribble (draw something) to release stress and anxiety etc.
  • Try to be more engaged with others, build emphathy towards others: “How do you want to make people feel?”. You should make people feel like the way you want to feel from others’ treatments.


The Proposal

I have came up with a few ideas of service design in relation to stress and anxiety reduction. These service design ideas suit the needs of modern society in this modern era with a little bit of touch of traditional-nature aspects.

(Saxena 2015)
(dreamwingirls 2015)

Stress and anxiety are caused by excessive usage of gadgets and social media during the day, particularly during the night hours when we are supposed to get some sleeps. On the other hand, getting familiar with apps, certain objects and colors that will give you the sense of relaxation and happiness can help reducing stress and anxiety by pulling you out of the reality and putting you into a state of mindfulness.

Phone Charger

(Wakelin 2015)

In relation to the issue of excessive usage of gadgets and social media in this modern world, I have came up with an idea of phone charger. This specific phone charger suits the needs of people from different groups of age, work position, ethnic society, and most importantly those who are required to use communication technology and addictive to games app and social media in their daily basis. This phone charger will allow the users to charge their gadgets (particularly mobile phone) only at night during the sleep hours. Furthermore, this phone charger can be used if only the users put their mobile phone on the charger based tray and in off-mode. The phone charger is linked to an app that can be downloaded on their mobile phones to setting up how many hours will you use your phone for the next day, what will you use your phone for in the next day, how much battery left before you charge the phone etc. The charger will follow up the instructions that you have put in. Therefore, the mobile phone users will not be able to use their mobile phones at midnight, instead they will start looking for something that might be a better option for them, such as books and music.

Meditation Box

(The Alternative Daily n.d.)

While it is a good idea to put their mobile phones away for a while, there are some alternative ways that they can do to reduce stress and anxiety. I have came up with an idea of a physical design solution that allows you to touch, smell and possibility to see artificial nature design. I would name it a meditation box. This design is targetted for everyone who needs to release the mind and body tension during the day. This object allows the users to touch its surface inside the box with both hands. The surface could be made of sand, rocks, grass etc. It is also designed with ‘fragrance mode’ functionality button, so that the users would be able to imagine like they are in the real garden, beach etc.

Easy Design App

(Tynker n.d.)

Last thing I have came up with an idea of being mindful through visual color landscape app. This app can be downloaded on mobile phone and other similar technologies. This design is targetted for everyone from kids, students, workers, business women/men who are interested in color and design, games app and technology. This app allows you to build your own imagination of landscape/view, such as lake, garden, beach, mountain and even some kind of fairytales landcscape, such as enchanted forest, castle etc. The app should be easy to navigate because the point of this idea is for the users to be able to focus on one thing at a time, particularly this visual color landscape in order to get away from the overwhealming reality situations. The users should be able to use drag point to position certain elements of nature into the design page. Furthermore, the elements will create sounds according to elements’ real sounds everytime the users drag them into the page.


Post 6//Scraping the web for data

By miyoung kang

For this task, I have chosen to scrape data from Twitter which is one of the most popular social media platforms today. Twitter is a Social Network Service that enables users to share or communicate their opinions and thinking through short messages called “tweets” within 140 characters. This is an online space which users can up load their daily moment and feeling in the literal sense of the word “twitter”. I think this is a social Network Service combined with the function of blog and messenger. The main function of Twitter is called “follow” which users can subscribe to someone who they are interested in. They follow others who have similar thoughts or are impressed and then add them as their “follower”. With that, the users can share and read their information, feeling, hobby, situation, or state of mind.

The unique qualities are that without their permissions, we can register them as a “follower” and send messages or check their movements. The Twitter’s scope of activity is not only diary, memo, tools of marketing and pen pal but also infinite functions such as conveying breaking news.  The URL is ” http://twitter.com ” and its account for the users is displayed “@id”. I think the advantage of Twitter is that in so far as information can be shared and spread in real time immediately, it has faster spreading power than messenger and simple interface rather than blogs.




For my first advanced search I used keywords that relate to my issue, anxiety disorder because I wondered about people’s personal perspectives through their own experiences and then changed the language to Korean using another tool called “Datapipeline” which can export my Twitter searches to Excel in order to compare with its result.

When I tried to search the keyword in English, most of the tweets were users’ personal mentions on anxiety disorder. Sometimes, there were useful and helpful links on mental illness because of the features of the Twitter that can leave message only 140 short characters. I guess they might not had enough space to leave all information. I have observed lots of people just leave their comment without any images.





In the next stage, I tried to use another search tool “Datapipeline” but in this tool, I changed language option to Korean and exported my Twitter searches to Excel and its result was amazing. The data shown in Excel was very detailed and well categorised. Data was classed by id, text, created date, re-tweet counts and hashtags etc. After analysing its data based on excel, I have found very interesting points. First, the most counted re-tweet was emergency news which someone was finding a hospital in a specific area urgently because of the anxiety disorder. People shared that tweet in real time responding immediately. It was re-tweeted over 120 times in a day. Another standing out point was that most of the re-tweets were from celebrities or other media’s links. Most of the tweets were just personal mention at that moment. It was not positive but negative.

Below is a five-point summary of my findings:

  1. Most of the tweets I viewed mentioned anxiety disorder in some kind of both negative and positive contexts. But most of these tweets like their personal state of mind were not retweeted. The users retweeted only celebrities’ tweets or particular links based on news or events regarding this keyword.
  2. Tweeter has an easy connection between users, also the spread of information is very fast.
  3. Most of the negative contexts mentioned that they have panic and anxiety disorder. On the other hand, positive contexts were mentioned, loving and cheering messages for their friends. Otherwise, sometimes there were tweets mentioning others’ experiences. Some were jokes unrelated to the medical phenomenon of mental illnesses.
  4. There were a lots of accounts that just anxiety is totally different from anxiety disorder and we need its understanding.
  5. The users looked like focusing on their state of mind at that time based on my keyword rather than specific information.


Post 9: Thoughts on the Collaborative Ideation

As discussed thoroughly in my previous blog post, we were given the opportunity this week to brainstorm ideas for possible design responses to our issue. For this post, I’ll be sharing my visual documentation and my thoughts on this brainstorming process.

Due to the late start in doing this exercise during the lesson, my peer group was only able to do brainstorm one of the design practice types – service design. Initially, our group didn’t quite understand the exercise and so it was very slow to start until one of the tutors came over and explained it thoroughly for us. It was encouraged that we write any idea that came to mind and not judge our peers when they gave out ideas. With our group’s friendly dynamic, the latter wasn’t the problem.

As I’ve described in blog post 8 and several other previous blog posts, collaboration exercises like this allows for a varying of perspectives to come together. With the relatively short time frame, we tried to bounce many ideas off of each other for each of our focuses. Once we got into the rhythm of idea generating, it was quite easy to find new possibilities through associations of previous things that we would have said. The discussion in between the ideas allowed for possible connections to be made with other ideas, creating an even more effective design possibility. While we were not as rapid as other groups in writing things down on paper, we assessed each idea with an audience, its main purpose and why it’s relevant to our issue. This process allowed for a more fulfilling experience as we were able to generate ideas with conceptual reason and deeper understanding.

Time continued to wane on, and it was clear that our initial enthusiasm was draining while the excitement of going home was growing. It was specifically clear when the focus was on my issue of the law enforcement and mental health. The issue itself is quite heavy to think about, and it’s not as simple as my peer’s other focuses on mental health. Even one of my peers exclaimed how complex the issue was with the numerous factors and actors that were involved, and thus he found it difficult trying to think of something that could be created in service design for my focus. I was able to come up with several ideas quite easily because I had the understanding and knowledge from my research, which my peers didn’t have. They did offer input and feedback to my ideas that I eventually wrote down; but a weakness in this brainstorming exercise is that not everyone in the group has a solid understanding of the intricate details in each other’s focuses. If members had a common understanding on each member’s focus, then maybe participating and ideation would have been easier and more effective.

In conclusion, because of our circumstances on the day, I feel this exercise could have gone a lot better if it was started much, much earlier in the lesson. All in all, we had about 40-50mins left in the tutorial to complete the task; and in the way my group went about our idea generation, it definitely wasn’t enough time. With that said however, the exercise proved to be fruitful with ideas that couldn’t have been possible with brainstorming alone.


Buisman, H., Lin, J. & Mijares, J. 2016, Mental Health Design Response Ideas: Service Design, mind map, Sydney, Australia.

Mijares, J. 2016, Close-up of Service Design Map 1, photograph, Sydney, Australia.

Mijares, J. 2016, Close-up of Service Design Map 2, photograph, Sydney, Australia.

Mijares, J. 2016, Close-up of Service Design Map 3, photograph, Sydney, Australia.

Header Image:
Mijares, J. 2016, Producing my own Service Design Map, photograph, Sydney, Australia.

Post 8: Possibilities for a Design Response to the Law Enforcement and Mental Health

During this week’s tutorial, we were prompted to begin focusing and brainstorming possibilities on formulating a designed response to our issue. In the focus of my issue, I considered all the stakeholder maps, previous brainstorming sessions, and the primary and secondary research I conducted on the law enforcement and mental health throughout the semester. In my last two blog posts, I had already begun considering possible design responses, ranging from creating several information visualisations based on user engagement and activity on the issue, to an interactive visualisation of key stakeholders that aims to educate others on the larger issue in my focus. However, this class gave me the opportunity to effectively delve into this problem, and explore with my peers on many possible design responses.

At first were given the task to define a problem statement by answering simple questions to guide us in the next stage of the lesson. It was a true test to which parts of my research throughout the semester really stood out to me and how these would direct my attention to the actual root of the problem. It was quite difficult to say the least because, as evident in my blog posts, my issue is intricately complex. It is riddled with many factors, stakeholders and histories that could be possibly carried into a year-long (or perhaps even longer) research expedition where you could finally acquire a truly objective and educated perspective as well as a possible solution to the problem. It doesn’t help that my issue is largely located in the United States, a culture that I don’t even live and breathe in but I’m only constantly influenced by from afar. Nevertheless, I was able to write the following for the questions. I tried to keep them succinct and straight to the point of what I really cared about and wanted to explore further.

Who does the problem affect? Be specific.
My problem mainly affects the law enforcement and mentally ill people who come into contact with the law enforcement. A secondary actor includes the general public – specifically those who engage with articles and media concerning the law enforcement and mental health.

What are the boundaries of the problem?
Lack of awareness and training on dealing with mentally ill persons.

Lack of insight into the procedures and the role of a police officer.
Lack of empathy and understanding on both sides of the issue.
Lack of understanding on the wider factors of the problem.
Stigma surrounding mental health and the affected persons.

When does the problem occur?
The problem occurs whenever someone who is deemed innocent by the public, is fatally shot by police. This occurs especially in conjunction with the Black Lives Matter movement and mentally ill people. Sensationalist media articles and reports are then released, leading to quick judgements and assumptions reigning the comments.

Where does the problem occur?
At this moment, the problem specifically occurs in the United States in correlation to their Black Lives Matter movement and the controversial gun law debate.

Why is this important?
Innocent people cannot keep dying for no reason, especially by a person who is supposed to be protecting the people. People need to be aware that there are ingrained cultural beliefs and attitudes in society that we were grown up to thinking that these things are okay. Assumptions and stereotyping is rampant, and they work subtly in influencing people’s decisions whether they are aware of it or not. This is one of the many possible reasons why African American people and mentally ill people are shot – ingrained attitudes from a wealth of media and society paint negative associations towards these minorities. Recognising these attitudes and perspectives with proper education and training may better improve police’s role in society and how they handle encounters with mentally ill people. Making the public more empathetic and understanding the complexities of the issue will allow more informed and objective perspectives that will spread towards wider society. It can create a much safer environment for the mentally ill, and improve how we perceive the law enforcement. It will also help in focusing on the wider actors participating in the issue, prompting them to push for change on smaller things before larger and more effective changes can happen.

From this with my peers, we then were prompted to brainstorm possible design responses based on our statements using three practice types of design that we could produce something out of – service design, information visualisation and generative design. Due to the lateness of when we were prompted to begin the task, my peers and I were only able to brainstorm ideas for ‘service design’ together, leaving myself to brainstorm the others myself at home. As I’ve stated in previous blog posts, brainstorming ideas in a collaborative setting is quite insightful and fun to do. You’re able to bounce ideas off one another easily and take away differing perspectives that you may have not thought of yourself. It opens new ways of seeing the problem, especially when you have each peer focusing on another part of the issue. They are able to consider other possible stakeholders and provide additional contexts to consider in the problem. Despite the short time that I’ve spent with my peers in this exercise, I was still able to generate ideas for my peers as they did for me.

The following five points are some of the potential design possibilities I identified in this brainstorming session, with and without my peers.

  1. Assisting officers in training using an interactive design to help them become more empathetic and aware of people with mental illness.
  2. Improve public perspectives on the issue using an interactive map that charts out the relationships between key stakeholders involved in my issue.
  3. Evaluate the public perception on police officers by having people with mental illness and no mental illness, and of any age, draw what they think a police officer is.
  4. Assisting officers in training by creating a database that is easily accessible through an app but exclusive to officers, that provides case examples of encounters with mentally ill people as well as suggesting better ways of approaching them.
  5. Enhance police training and encounter procedures by collecting information on how a wide scale of officers (those new and experienced) would approach a mentally ill person.

From these, below is a proposal of one that I am leaning more towards to in developing my direction for this subject.

In the rising issue of the excessive use of force by police and their many cases of fatally shooting mentally ill persons being reported on almost daily, the public perceptions of this authoritative role in society has been met with chaos. Doubts, anger and demand for justice against those who deal out the justice have emerged, instigating many debates on public online forums and comment sections. Despite all of this however, is this truly how people view the law enforcement?

Thus, I propose a design response using a collaboration between generative systems and information visualisation, where I would invite others to draw a simple drawing of how they view this person in blue. Afterwards, they’ll be prompted to provide a reason onto why they drew that way. The activity invites people of all ages, especially with those who have a mental illness, to participate in the exercise. In order to identify them, a simple age, gender, race and if they have a mental illness will be filled out beforehand. The exercise would consist of simple paper and pencils – coloured and lead – making it easy for the participants to understand what to do. Participants are also encouraged to be as open with their interpretation of the activity as they like. The works would then be collated and organised on a site, where users can then sort the drawings  by the participant’s gender, age, race and existence of mental illness. There is also an option to organise the drawings on a positive and negative spectrum to allow users to evaluate the wide variety of perspectives.

Through this design response, I hope to elicit the varying perspectives between the ideas of authority and protection. In visualising the data and analysing people’s reasons for drawing the way that they did, we can identify certain factors and trends that influence people’s perceptions of the police; especially of those who have mental illness. People would be able to share their own personal experiences with the police, generating empathy towards all those involved dependent on the situation. Identifying these factors can then prompt for changes in attitudes and behaviour towards the police as well as changes within the law enforcement’s system.


Mijares, J. 2016, Law Enforcement and Mental Health: Generative Systems Ideas, mind map, Sydney, Australia.

Mijares, J. 2016, Law Enforcement and Mental Health: Information Visualisation Ideas, mind map, Sydney, Australia.

Mijares, J. 2016, Law Enforcement and Mental Health: Service Design Ideas, mind map, Sydney, Australia.

Header Image:
Malland, J. 2016, Range Ta Chambre (Clean Up Your Room), arrestedmotion, viewed 13 September 2016, <http://arrestedmotion.com/2016/07/recap-seth-range-ta-chabre-teatro-india-999-contemporary/?images=1&gt>.

07 – Benefits of Collaborative Mapping

The process of collaborating on several issue map exercises was undertaken across several weeks. The role of which was to augment and consolidate previous work with a refined and specific focal point on the problems within mental health. Whilst the content of these maps did tend to overlap, the manner through which the various approaches were presented allowed for fresh perspectives and ideation.

Continue reading “07 – Benefits of Collaborative Mapping”

POST 6: Scraping the web for data


By Jansie Vo

Social media has become an integral part in the interaction of people. In a world is becoming dependent on the Internet as it is today, Twitter effectively brings people and community closer to their interests and is a great social-networking tool to update the information including daily conversations, information sharing, news critiques, and updates about an user’s life in real time without the need to read newspapers or watch television. It is also used by the very popular movie stars to connect with the audience and fans. Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 10.22.57 PM

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In order to gain a border understanding of mental health by using web scrapping data techniques such as Twitter archivers and Data Pipeline, I have documented different data sets to assist me with my research on my mental health issue. From Twitter achievers in google sheet with the hashtag #mentalhealth, the result is fetched over thousands tweets in the world and up to 500 tweets in Sydney including positive and negative tweets.  Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 12.02.09 AMScreen Shot 2016-09-04 at 11.07.50 PMScreen Shot 2016-09-05 at 12.33.58 AM

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 12.37.44 AMScreen Shot 2016-09-05 at 12.41.55 AM

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To fully understand the depth of this research, I took a closer look at mental health tweets on Twitter avandced search. I found these hashtags #mentalhealth #depression #anxiety #ChangingMinds were among the most popular hashtags related to mental health. These collected tweets contain content where the individual appears to be sincerely writing tweets about their depression and anxiety, yet some phrases may come up as negative, in the overall context, they may not actually carry a negative message. In the case of mental health tweets, they are sometimes raising awareness of the impact an illness has on people’s lives. Additionally, the imageries, quotes and linked websites are used to aim users who might be in need of psychological help. Because when a user searches a topic or a hashtag, they can be linked to a conversation with others who suffer the same difficulties and find a community that doesn’t seem to exist in the real community around them. This is especially helpfull way in the mental and behavioral health space, where not only individuals, but organizations, institutes, and departments are busy tweeting the most interesting news, positive advices and thoughts on treating and understanding mental illness

Five points summary of finding:

  • Twitter has been used to create outreach opportunities for those seeking help, providing information with hashtags that link to awareness and fundraising campaigns.
  • A social network efficiently connects those who suffer from mental illness
  • Raising awareness of the impact mental illness has on people’s lives.
  • Mental health issues are more common than you think.
  • Mental health conversations often go hand-in-hand with discussions about individuals mood, anxiety and substance abuse

Post 7//Issue mapping

By Miyoung Kang



Mapping Exercise, 2016

From Week 3 to Week 5, through the group exercise, we have created a visual map in order to approach the connection and interaction of human and non-human stakeholders based on mental issues. In the first stage, we have tried to divide the causes of mental illnesses into simply right and left parts. We have covered human oriented causes – racism, friends, family and depression placed in human part, while environment, natural disaster, alcohol and drugs are placed in non-human part. We have researched the relationship between them in depth, putting every closer related word horizontally and discussed why other members wanted to place each words differently. In the next stage, we have explored to extract 5 different words from a number of stakeholders; accessibility, youth, advertisement, relationship and ignorance than under those each words, we tried to reassign left words we made. Also using six adjectives, emotional, social, disruptive, actionable and factual that can divide those stakeholders largely, we have tried to be placed in each part. Also using six adjectives, emotional, social, disruptive, actionable and factual that can divide those stakeholders largely, we have tried to be placed in each part.




When we have assigned each stakeholder, there were some factors that we have thought differently in emotional and social sections. I was thinking that some word belongs to an emotional section but other member placed some words in a social section or below the disruptive section and they have explained their opinions. We  have also exercised negative and positive areas, divided into two parts. The most interesting point was the stakeholders placed in the middle of two sections.


What I have leaned is that I could listen to a variety of opinions from my group members and discuss our perspectives. It was a very interesting and beneficial experiment. Through the result we explored, I will further gain more insight into my design process.  Furthermore, I will consider developing the visual mapping that involves discussions and actors with questions that can gain further understanding, connection and interaction on relevant section in the next stage.

Post 7: Issue Mapping Mental Health

Throughout the course of this semester, I’ve been given many opportunities to collaborate with my peer focus group in brainstorming ideas concerning mental health. Each time it’s an interesting experience as each person is focusing on different aspects of the larger issue. For example, one is focusing on the mental health of farmers, another is focusing on the issue of misdiagnosis in mental health and our other peer is focusing on separation anxiety found in adults. The varying of perspectives allows for engaging discussion, new insights and a more informed view on both mental health in general and my own focus of the law enforcement involved in mental health.

The stakeholder maps explored in Week 3 brought forward an immense group of human and non-human actors involved in mental health. As stated in my previous blog post, these maps demonstrate how very complex and intricate mental health is, and if we begin to generalise the illness, it will become difficult to treat those with it and will continue to perpetuate its stigma. These ideas were revisited again in Week 4 and Week 5.

Week 4’s exercises of the word associations, allowed for instinctive ideas concerning our focus issues on mental health to be shared. It was interesting to see our individual words in comparison to the rest of the groups studying mental health. Nearly everyone had the same or similar words, with some exceptions being as less frequent than others such as racism, violence and authority. It showed me that the general perception of those studying the issue tend to associate the illness with more emotive words, describing the illness or feelings involved with it, rather than issues that affect it or are a part of it such as gender, expectations and racism.

The activity then moved onto using some of these words and documenting the stakeholders involved loosely or directly with each word. I found this exercise much more interesting to do since the focus of finding stakeholders was not on the general issue of mental health, but rather the specific ideas within the realm of mental health. It was another instinctive and fast paced exercise for our group, moving onto another word once we couldn’t figure out any more thoughts for one. It was a great process since it made us realise which actors and ideas stood out to us more.

Our analysis map from Week 3 and the word associations in Week 4 raised ideas that were controversial in mental health which was revisited specifically again in Week 5. Some of these included the stigma of mental health, social and gender expectations and media’s treatment of it. While I was away sick for this tutorial, my group caught me up on the activity for Week 5 and I was able to collect the images from the day. The first map explores a general brainstorm of the controversy and debates surrounding mental health, while the second takes a focused look into mental health stigma and culture. From studying the maps, the ideas written have more so reaffirmed my ideas and discussions from previous weeks. Stigma continually plays a large part in the treatment of mental health, especially in concerns with my own focus of the law enforcement. Through my research, it’s evident that the products of stigma such as ignorance and lack of awareness, has led to fatal shootings and excessive use of force in many law enforcement cases involved with mentally ill persons. Even more so when the very lack of awareness leads to mentally ill persons being labelled as criminals, and thrown into jail with no access to proper mental health care.


From co-creating the maps, I was able to explore the different focus issues of mental health that my peers were studying and become more informed on the general subject. The differing perspectives allowed for both affirmation and insightful thinking. Each person brought own their ideas that they gained through their individual research, making known of differing understandings of the stakeholders and issues that arise in mental health. An example can be seen in from a discussion while writing out our Week 3 stakeholder maps with my peer, who shared their thoughts on my focus issue on the law enforcement. At the time, I was more concerned with the mentally ill and the struggles they encountered with the police. They then explained to me that it wasn’t that simple when encountering a potentially dangerous person, with or without mental health. It led me to further research into both the police and mentally ill, which allowed me to become more informed as well as empathetic to the police on my issue. Even more so, the stakeholder maps throughout the weeks has allowed me to see the greater picture on my focus issue, seeing larger stakeholders such as government funding and the wider public health system that effect my focus issue directly.  Through it, I was able to structure my primary research exercise of my probe into investigating how much one’s perspective can change through educating themselves in similar way to what I had – by exposing themselves into differing opinions on the issue.

Thus, my initial ignorance has led me to possible design solutions that involves educating others on the larger stakeholders in place in regards to the law enforcement. Such solutions could include an interactive site or an animation that map out the specific stakeholders involved with my issue and how they attribute to law enforcement’s treatment of the mentally ill. Engaging experiences like these would allow for better informed perspectives that are hard to achieve in an issue where quick and emotive judgments reign. Overall from my own bias in the issue, this collaboration experience has been beneficial to me and has guided me into an enlightened and more informed direction with possible design solutions in mind.

Buisman, H., Lin, J. & Sobel, S. 2016, Controversy and Debate Detail Map, mind map, Sydney Australia.

Buisman, H., Lin, J. & Sobel, S. 2016, Controversy and Debate General Map, mind map, Sydney Australia.

Buisman, H., Lin, J. & Mijares, J. 2016, Mental Health: Human Stakeholders Map, mind map, Sydney, Australia.

Buisman, H., Lin, J. & Mijares, J. 2016, Word Association Stakeholders Map, mind map, Sydney Australia.

Lin, J. & Mijares, J. 2016, Mental Health: Non-Human Stakeholders Map, mind map, Sydney, Australia.

Lin, J. & Mijares, J. 2016, Mental Health: Stakeholders Analysis Map, mind map, Sydney, Australia.

Mijares, J. 2016, Word Association Exercise Process – Class words, photograph, Sydney, Australia.

Sobel, S. 2016, Word Association Exercise – Tagged words, photograph, Sydney, Australia.

Header Image:
Mijares, J. 2016, Close up of Word Association Stakeholders Map, photograph, Sydney, Australia.


05 – Ethnographic Research

Mental health is a vastly broad topic that not only has such significant impacts upon society but whose complexity is not yet entirely understood by the medical community. In order to gain a more holistic understanding of the ‘real world’ presence of and dialogue around mental health this stage focused on two forms of design-led ethnographic research.

Semi-Structured Interview

Never having had researched mental health and its implications on the individual and community, my interviewee’s responses were based off their perceptions and opinions around the issue. Often beginning or ending a statement with ‘I guess’ conveyed their reluctance to proclaim any statement as fact. When discussing the relevance of mental health issues for our age group, 18-25 year olds, they mentioned statistics stating our age group is affected the most by mental health issues. However, when prompted they could not recall where they’d sourced such a figure. I found it interesting to consider how many ‘facts’ we as individuals and as a larger society ‘know’ about mental health without actually being able to state their source.

“I think it has a very great impact on our age group. Mostly, I guess, because I know of statistics of our age group, just coming out of adolescence, that kind of thing, it really I guess effects us most. … No, I don’t know exactly where [I got those statistics from] but I guess it’s something I read somewhere.” [Interviewee response to question of impact of mental health on age group 18-25 year old]

Continue reading “05 – Ethnographic Research”

Post5//Interview Related Mental Health


By Miyoung Kang


Recently, I have seen a cardiologist in order to treat heart attack and anxiety disorder. One out of tests was checking my heart beating through a monitor around the clock. I received a small device which could check my hearth beating and had to return it after 24 hours. It was interesting that I took on my action per hour and my emotion in company. As above mentioned, I was diagnosed with heart attack which could end up with anxiety disorder or vice versa. The doctor said that it is unclear which one comes first and we cannot know the progressing at this time.It was very impressive that psychological and emotional records were referred to during the process of medical treatment through specialists.  So I have decided to probe a similar experiment to an interviewee and through its result and the interviewee’s answers I will explore my research and issues more in depth.



  1. When you heard the term, anxiety disorder or panic disorder, how was your feeling?

I thought that it is like a sense of extreme anxiety from personal trauma.

2. Do you know what kind of symptoms those suffering from anxiety disorder have? 

I’ve read interview of few celebrities who look fine, but they have a hidden illness of panic disorder. They said this illness becomes to be discomfort or impossibilities of living daily life, because it is fear which is similar as feeling of death.

3. What do you think causes those illnesses and brings such symptoms?

At first, all kinds of disease/ illness are caused by ‘stress’ in my point of view. So, anxiety disorder began with stressed out trauma. I think it is kind of an emotional shock with bad memories or experience about specific places and situation. And this is process which pain of psychology responds to physical impact.

4. What is your view on the research that such illnesses may come from physical factors?

It is interesting and I never think about relatives between mental and physical impact.  I’m quite ignorant regarding to this medical correlation. Of course, I thought mental illness caused by also metallic stress or trauma.

5. Regardless of your feeling, have you ever had such experiences sudden fears or heart throbbing?

Yes, I have experienced about feeling similar fears of regardless my emotions. Actually, I sometimes get difficulty with breathing caused by asthma and low blood pressure in unexpected situation or places.

6. When you are not physically good, does it have an effect on mental fitness as well?

Yes, of course. I’m quite sensitive about stress and it becomes to be digestive disorder, dizziness and difficulty with breathing.

7. It is no wonder that many people try to keep back their mental illness because they may suffer social status threat and discriminations. What is your c toward mental illness?

 In my experience at workplace, one of my colleague, who has mental illness, opened out her detail of illness, what’s symptoms come out and excused about her disabilities to our team. After that, all of my team understood her disabilities and recognised what we should take care about her. It develop to be good team work and relationship in positively. I think that coming out of mental illness should recover or getting better than hiding own illness to peers and we need to respect on personal illness whatever physical or psychological matters without any stereotypes.

8. Do you think mental illness is a kind of disability?

Yes, I think mental illness is a kind of handicap which we need to protect and understand.

 9. If there are people who suffer from mental illness around you, how and with what attitude and attitude or perceive will you approach to them?

As I mentioned before, I definitely understand their illness which it is a recoverable illness as like flu of mental when mental illness people bring out their symptoms and suffers.

10. What do you think is the best life balance between mental and physical health?

The best healthy life could be self-satisfaction by balance with rich composure between mental and physical.



Probe Task


In my probe task, I have asked to my interviewee to record her action and emotion together every two hours from 2PM to before the sleeping time and also asked to draw briefly visual obstruct objects that the interviewee want to reflect her emotion on. This probe task is relating my post 4:” Identifying and collecting a design example”. This project was that visitors create their visual obstruct objects that the users could reveal individual state of mind, and with the result its visualised data was displayed collaboratively on the large screen outside Gallery.

Below is the result of interview conducted:

Action Emotion Picture
2:00~3:00 PM waiting for feedback at class bit nervers and confused 01
3:00~4:00 PM just chilling at in front of window came and relax 02
4:00~5:00 PM sitting in the train(on the way to home) careful and thinking something 03
5:00~6:00 PM cleaning my room


6:00~7:00 PM

having dinner with family

happy and stability and relax

7:00~8:00 PM

taking shower

melting and relax

8:00~10:00 PM

doing assessments of uni

confused and concentrating

10:00~11:00 PM

go to bed listening music 

relax and calm  08


Through these interview question and probe task, I could lead to 5 point summaries.

  • The respondent has recognised panic disorder may arise from a sense of extreme anxiety from personal trauma, and that other kinds of mental disease are also from mental problems as well. The fact that physical problems may the cause of the attack is unheard of on the part of the interviewer.
  • the respondent sometimes get difficulty with breathing caused by asthma and low blood pressure in unexpected situation or places. The low condition of her physical health has a great effect on her sensitive mental state, with the result of it digestive disorder, dizziness and difficulty with breathing may be accompanied.
  • However, she has no interest in any special treatment and makes nothing of its result.
  • She is very open minded in mental disorder and she is of the consciousness that patients must be protected and chested.
  • Through the experiment I can observe the respondent behave differently every two hours.  Every action per hour represents different set of mind and she puts up different emotion by means of various shapes.

03 – Interconnectivity and Visual Language of Mental Health

Mental health is an incredibly broad topic, with implications and impacts spanning innumerable aspects of life. In order to broach the subject and develop an initial understanding of its depth, extensive research began into how mental health and illness is presented in news articles and academic papers. Analysing and discussing the portrayal of content across these outlets then lead to the development of participant mapping in groups.

Human & Non-Human Participants Maps


Continue reading “03 – Interconnectivity and Visual Language of Mental Health”

Post 5: Interview & Actual Examples of people with mental illness.

By Yu Zhang


During the interview with my partner Lucy, I asked some questions that relate to government, external factors, prevention, and education. The reasons I ask these is because I want to seek some opinion about how’s the attitude of society to mental illness, especially government and external factors. Base on my previous research, lots of mental illness cases are happened by inappropriate attitude from government and external factors from family, company, and school. Also, strengthen my positions as I mentioned in my previous blog.

How do you think about the treatment of government to mental health?

The government is mostly focused on strengthening the awareness to mental health and make it more like a discussion, so people have opportunity to start to understand the danger of mental health and how to realize it on time. On the other hand, people who suffering mental illness are still lack of support because of the government have less focus on policies.

What kind of external factors affect mental health issues most?

Family as it influence anywhere includes how to growth and learn how to live and how to solve problems. It might affect in a positive or negative way, depends on how’s the live style of family, include members of family, religion, nationally and so on. If the family have to face the pressure from the exposure to events like violence at home, it might promote mental illness happen. Also, relationship with friends , expectations from company or school are also affected mental illness.

What’s your idea for prevention of mental health issues?

Develop a network system to support the people with mental illness. It can provide a stage for them to seek help, and the system definitely has someone to talk or share experiences or tips about the issue, so those patients don’t think you are alone anymore. Also, a network system can have someone with skill that can help people with mental illness to deal with the issues, like anxiety or depression. It’s not necessary to have professional psychologist for the system, but have someone who would like to take time for patients to understand their situation and solve the issue.

What’s your idea about education can do for mental health?

Education is important but it’s tricky to be specific on how to educate to avoid mental health issue. It’s better to integrate government, educators, and family to discuss how to reform the education by sharing experience and thoughts.


I was ask Lucy to find more examples and opinions about live experience from different people with mental illness and how’s it affect their life. However, I think collect more example can help to understand further about the pain from mental illness and motivate my inspiration for the posters.

Find 3 examples of the live experience of people that affect mental health.


Ian described himself as victim of the global financial crisis. His banking company fired him in 2008, the pressure from money and feeling of despair defeat Ian to became a person with Major Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. It affects Ian only had 2 to 3 hours sleep per day with angry, irritable, demanding, needy, clingy and couldn’t concentrate or hold coherent conversations.


Brett diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after he was bashed into a traffic accident. He can’t leave his house and look after his family anymore, which affect Brett’s career loss, marriage collapsed and lost friendships. Brett mentioned he can not even attend to his children’s school concerts because he would have panic attack and always think that there must have someone trying to hurt him or his family. Brett was considered to suicide because of the pain and PTSD controlled his life over 14 years since 1995.


Susan’s 13-year-old daughter Lily diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder after her daughter said she was having scary, strange thoughts. Lily’s friends, sporting, and social activities suddenly fell away and not able to go to school anymore. Susan has to left the job and take care of Lily. Also, it affects Susan’s husband and son into negative emotions. Susan’s life was struggling and she was considered to just disappear one day.


Record 3 opinions about the current policies of mental health services (eg. lack of control, funding support etc.) from your friends or family.

  • The current policies are encouraging more of a discussion about mental health however there still needs to be more – Friend
  • I think that mental health is being dealt with in a better way than it has in the past, there is, however, a stigma that needs to be addressed in regards to physical illness vs. mental illness and how society responds to this. – Aunty
  • People in remote communities don’t have the same support opportunities as those in cities and towns, we need to provide for these people to ensure they have equal access to services – Brother

The five point summary

  • Network system is a great pathway to help people with mental illness and get enough support as soon as possilbe. Also, it can decrease the pressure from funding and cost for family.
  • Exposure of personal mental illness might turned into a negative result as patients would be terrified to face the society, family and friends.
  • Awareness of education for mental health still need to be more specific and clear, otherwise it can not develop a great system or policies to support patients.
  • Mental illness is very easy to turn into another problems, includes physical illness, broken relationship and negative thoughts.
  • Government need to be consistent on the policies with school, company, social media and community.


Beyondblue Support Service 2016, Personal stories, viewed 26 August 2016, <https://www.beyondblue.org.au/connect-with-others/personal-stories/story/brett&gt;.

Beyondblue Support Service 2016, Personal stories, viewed 26 August 2016, <https://www.beyondblue.org.au/connect-with-others/personal-stories/story/ian&gt;.

Beyondblue Support Service 2016, Personal stories, viewed 26 August 2016, <https://www.beyondblue.org.au/connect-with-others/personal-stories/story/susan&gt;.


The many faces of Mental Illness.

POST 3: Mapping Participants and Creating an Image Archive




This map was an extremely useful tool to reveal the extent of the issue of Mental Illness and the extremely large number of stakeholders, both human and non-human, that are involved in this issue in many different ways. This map pictured above aims to categorize these potential stakeholders and understand the relationships between them. We tried our best to draw lines between entities that were related or that might be similar in some way. This activity was really helpful in understanding the scope of the issue but most importantly it allowed us as designers to understand where problem solving may be able to assist among the huge network of participants.

map3 copy

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maxresdefaultMiloš F., 1975, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, still frame from a film, viewed via YouTube August 28 2016, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQa_sg4zN88&gt;

This image is a still from the Academy Award winning film One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest from 1975. This is just one among many portrayals of psychiatric treatments that were regularly practised in the first half of the 20th century. This particular still features Patrick McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, undergoing ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy, otherwise known as ‘Shock Therapy’, a treatment for severe psychiatric disorders such as bipolar, schizophrenia. The treatment involves inducing seizures in a patient with the use of electric shocks to the brain. ECT is still in use today, as it theoretically remains a sound treatment for severe psychiatric illnesses, with 50% of patients being relieved of many of the more extreme symptoms of their disorder. ECT has been represented in the media in a considerably negative light, and greatly decreased in popularity following the release of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975 which depicted the treatment as cruel, torturous and overused. While many of the treatments for mental illness in the earlier 20th century are considered now to be completely inconclusive, barbaric and unethical, ECT in it’s more modern form is still a legitimate form of treatment for many sufferers. A description from SANE’s fact sheet on ECT reads:

” A general anaesthetic is given first, and then a small electric current is passed between two electrodes placed on the scalp. The brain works through complex electrical and chemical processes. These are affected by mental illnesses, so that they don’t work properly. Like medication, ECT works on these processes so that they operate more normally again and symptoms are reduced. There is now a clear body of scientific evidence that ECT is effective in improving depressive and psychotic symptoms. ”
SANE Australia, 2016, ECT Fact Sheet, viewed 29 August 2016, <https://www.sane.org/mental-health-and-illness/facts-and-guides/ect-electroconvulsive-therapy&gt;.

What is evident is the huge emotional impact depictions within the media can have on the public’s attitude toward a particular issue. Films like One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Requiem for a Dream and A Beautiful Mind all depict past psychiatric treatments including ECT in an extremely negative light, and would have contributed to it’s negative reputation throughout society.



Leunig, M. 2016, cartoon, viewed August 28 2016, <http://statuscope.co/au/Status-Michael-Leunig-Appreciation-Page?id=e0d09d7f&gt;.

Michael Leunig is an Australian poet and cartoonist. Leunig is most famous for his cartoons that appear regularly in the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. Leunig’s work discusses relevant social and political issues as well as commentary on emotional and spiritual aspects of everyday life. Leunig’s cartoons are often ambiguous in their messages, due to the simple poetic nature of his artistic practice.

This particular cartoon explores increasing rate of depression in our society, but could be making many different points about this issue. It may be exploring the notion that those with lives saturated by constant news media can live depressed with the horror of our world. Rates of Depression and anxiety are at an all time high, which some attribute to a world so heavy with information and constant communication, many living in a constant fear of danger, crime or terror. Leunig is suggesting those of us that ignore reports on the world around us live in a blissful ignorance.

Leunig may also be using this cartoon to highlight that many living with depression suffer in silence, as it is in fact an invisible illness. Those ‘happy’ characters in the cartoon may live their lives unable to notice the suffering of their friends and family due to the nature of this horrible illness.



DiAntonio, A. 2014, illustration, It’s all In Your Head, viewed 29 August 2016, <https://www.behance.net/gallery/14579107/Its-all-in-your-head&gt;.

This image was found on Behance, an online archive of creative portfolios, created by a design student in Canada in 2014. I was particularly drawn to this image for it’s symbolism, and it’s exploration of the lack of understanding that is a very real social context for many suffering from mental illness. There is a strong social stigma that exists surrounding this issue, we are still in need of greater education and awareness surrounding mental health simply because it is so misunderstood and unrecognized in our society. The title of the work is ‘It’s all in your head’, which is one of the most common misconceptions surrounding mental illness particularly more common disorders such as anxiety and depression. Because these illnesses are ‘invisible’ and do not have more easily recorded physical symptoms as with other illnesses, they have not been prioritised in our health systems and many sufferers are unlikely to come forward to seek help due to the potential social reception of their actions.



1949, Photograph, Walter Freeman performing a lobotomy, <http://www.neatorama.com/2007/06/12/10-mind-boggling-psychiatric-treatments/&gt;.

When browsing an image archive that featured past psychiatric treatments and medicines, I came across this particular image of Walter Freeman performing a lobotomy on a patient in 1949.  Walter Freeman was an American physician who specialised in lobotomy and is renown for bringing the practice to America following it’s popularisation in Europe in the 40s. I felt instantly sick when I gazed upon this particular image, which pictures a huge number of people, some in suits, idly standing by in an unsanitised room as a woman receives a lobotomy without anaesthesia. Lobotomy is a now prohibited medical practice that aimed to “cure” patients of mental illness, which involved damaging the frontal lobe of the brain to sever neural pathways and therefore emotional response. Freeman became the spokesman of lobotomy and performed the act with a long metal instrument pushed through the eye socket into the front part of the brain. The practice essentially gave patients such severe brain damage that they were no longer able to have emotional outbursts, psychotic episodes or violent symptoms, because they were now essentially catatonic.

What is so horrifying about this image and many others that depict these archaic treatments of mental illness is that they remind us of a time, about half a century ago, where the stigmatisation of mental illness was so high due to the lack of education and understanding around this issue. Mental disorders were considered so taboo that families went to great lengths to hide it from their friends, sufferers were alienated from society and often had no control over their own fates; forced into treatments that violated so many basic human rights and showed a complete lack of understanding of medical health.


Getty Images, 2016, SANE Australia Mental Image Survey Results, Image 1, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.smh.com.au/content/dam/images/g/n/f/v/x/q/image.related.articleLeadwide.620×349.gnfuzm.png/1457597699235.jpg&gt;.

Getty Images, 2016, SANE Australia Mental Image Survey Results, Image 3, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://davincilabs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/134006499.jpg&gt;.

These two images were taken from a recent study conducted by SANE Australia in a bid to better understand the way we use images when reporting on mental illness in the media. The study invited those with experience of mental illness to assess how fair of a representation certain images were in relation to mental health and experience. The images were provided by Getty images and featured a wide array of subject matter.

These two images I have above are, in order, the most accurate representation and the least accurate representation of mental illness from this particular study. The first image features a young girl in a full colour photograph with a neutral expression, her background filled with black and white blurred images of various negative emotional states. This image was considered to be a fair depiction of experience with mental illness as it showed the potential hidden emotional turmoil that an individual can suffer from, while still remaining a normal, functioning member of society. It highlights the invisible nature of the illness and the fact that it can effect anyone.

The second image, considered to be the most detrimental to viewers’ understanding of a true representation of mental illness features a large pile of pills laid across a dictionary definition of ‘depression’. This image was considered to be harmful as it disassociated the illness from the individual, dehumanising the experience and removing the personal emotional side to these illnesses that is so important when educating others. The use of medication over the dictionary gave the impression that depression is merely defined by medication and required lots of prescribed treatments to be overcome.

SANE reported that it was extremely important for news bodies to be careful about the images that they use when reporting on mental illness, because wrongful depictions of these issues can lead to misunderstanding the personal struggle and the stigmatization of mental health as a problem facing many today.


charnley_self_portrait_series_02Charnley, B. 1991, Painting, Self Portrait Series Number 2, viewed 29 August 2016, <http://www.bryancharnley.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Charnley_Self_Portrait_series_02.jpg&gt;.

This image above is a piece of art from 1991 by Bryan Charnley, a British painter who’s work vividly explores the experience of schizophrenia. Charnley’s most famous works, Self Portrait Series from 1991 were painted while reducing his prescribed medication over a series of weeks, which culminated in his death by suicide. Between March and April of 1991, Charnley painted 17 portraits, some realistic and some extremely abstract in response to his schizophrenic understanding of self. This image above is the second portrait in the series, with strong similarities to the first, but the head pictured is surrounded by dark squiggles, a rabbit ear and large eye. The symbols in this painting are a response to the increase in paranoia and ‘voices’ that come as Charnley starts to reduce his medication. This visualisation of Schizophrenia gives us a unique insight into how it must feel to suffer from this mental illness. The series was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London after Charnley’s death. It reveals that so many people suffer in silence with their mental health and often we are only aware of the extent of the issue until it is too late.


Unknown Artist, Viewed via Pinterest 29 August 2016, <https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/d5/23/95/d5239598b97e48f9716e1b98597b3a09.jpg&gt;.

I found this little comic on Pinterest as I was scouring the web for images. It really resonated with me because I felt that it was such an excellent representation of the lack of understanding that exists surrounding depression and many other mental illnesses. Due to the invisible nature of depression, many who are inexperienced with it’s horrors are often quick to tear down victims, suggesting that they merely ‘get over it’, ‘forget about it’, ‘be happy’ or ‘lighten up’. Belittling these horrible illnesses and suggesting that sufferers experiences can be easily fixed is hugely detrimental to finding a solution. If we bombard those experiencing mental illness with these unhelpful words then we are often worsening the issue and deterring victims from speaking up about their situation.


Ubhi, D. 2013, Time to Change Advertising Campaign, viewed 29 August 2016, <https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/f3/ec/ea/f3ecea15e8e63fd4db861ff6620bfda9.jpg&gt;.

This is a promotional poster for UK Non-for-profit Time To Change, an organisation that focuses primarily on ending the stigma that surrounds mental illness. This image is part of a series that features famous faces such as actors, musicians, sportspeople and comedians that suffer from a range of mental illnesses. The series hopes to break down stereotypes surrounding mental illness that suggest that those that suffer from these horrible disorders are defined by their mental state. These posters, such as this above that features the multi-talented Stephen Fry reveals that individuals can live with mental illness and still make wonderful contributions to society. Time For Change are showing that mental illness is more widespread than we might originally believe, and needs to be an issue that we discuss openly and regularly.


2010, Mental Health Foundation, Mindfulness Advertising Campaign, viewed 30 August 2016, <https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/cc/db/bb/ccdbbb466f86af9186fe28ba4fa49415.jpg&gt;.

This poster is from an advertising campaign from the Mental Health Foundation in the UK 2010. The award winning series highlights the benefits of the modern meditation technique of mindfulness can have on us living in our high media and work saturated 21st century world. The photographic series features individuals who’s heads are weighed down with the burden of work, children and other stress. Like the previous advertising campaign above by Time for Change, this image focuses on normalising mental illness and breaking down the stigmas associated with stress and anxiety. Mindfulness is a highly regarded form of self-initiated treatment that is probably not as well known as it should be. Raising awareness of this form of treatment is a really important step in eradicating the suffering of mental illness.

2016, SANE, Picture This: How Australians picture mental illness, survey results, viewed 29 August 2016, <https://www.sane.org/images/PDFs/2765_01_SANE_PictureThis_12-FINAL-WEB.pdf&gt;.


Post 6: Scraping Reddit using ‘Police Mental Health’

As with the growing relevancy of my issue concerning the law enforcement and mental health, I decided to look to Reddit as my source for my findings. Reddit is social media platform that, according to its about page, “bridges communities and individuals with ideas, the latest digital trends, and breaking news…” It’s a website that takes the forum system to the next level, where users can create their own communities or ‘subreddits’ based on any topic of their choosing and have others engage or join in the community. Posts within these subreddits can range from text posts, images, or direct links to external sites that other users can comment and discuss on. The posts can also be ‘upvoted’ or ‘downvoted’ by users, allowing the highest of the posts reach the front page of Reddit or the subreddit.

I decided to use Reddit to scrape for data because I felt that with the individual communities aspect of the site, would allow me to find a plethora of different viewpoints from different communities on my subject that is not limited to 140 characters like in Twitter or tied to personal identity like Facebook. The sense of anonymity, coupled with a larger word limit and a degree of comfortability with like-minded users in each community, has great potential for interesting findings. Below is a flowchart (image 1) of my process in finding my results. I didn’t want to use keywords that would specifically find negative or positive results because I wanted to keep it very general, and allow for the site to provide me results based on what people were talking about right now.

Process Flowchart
My process flowchart in scraping Reddit for data (Mijares 2016)

As there were over thousands of results,  I decided to narrow my scope into the first three pages which contained a total of 72 posts, sorting them into the newest first. But before I delve into my results however, I’d like to discuss this interesting section I found at the bottom of the page. It displays how many posts that were found using my keywords in different communities. I was surprised to find that the number one subreddit for my search query was one for users to submit and share their own horror stories. The next subreddit was for a place to talk about and ask questions about your own relationship and, coming in right after that, is a support group for those who were raised by narcissistic parents.

While the top subreddit of horror stories was a complete surprise for me, it made me wonder why it became that way – is it because police and mental health are perfect topics to write horror stories about, or is it simply because the search engine found mentions of those words in the stories? Despite it might being the latter, as one who enjoys horror games and narratives, the genre is known to use the, “they used to suffer from an [insert mental illness]” back story trope for their characters (usually applied to the antagonist/s to explain the erratic behaviour); or they set their scenes in abandoned mental health asylums where ghosts of patients haunt every wall and object. You could say that this attributes to the stigma and it further perpetuates the negative assumptions to mental health; it paints those who have a mental illness or have been hospitalised in a mental health facility, in a fairly negative light. While this topic isn’t my specific focus on mental health, this finding produced an interesting insight into the how the users may perceive mental health in the internet space.

post 6Rb
The ‘narrow it down to a subreddit’ box located at the bottom of the results page (Reddit 2016)
Top 3 subreddits that contained posts with my keywords ‘Police Mental Health’. From left to right: /r/NoSleep, /r/Relationships, /r/RaisedByNarcissists (Reddit 2016)

Regarding my results to my data scraping exercise on the first three pages of my search query, I decided to tag each of the 72 posts with a description in order to tabulate these into the pie chart below. As expected, I found a whole array of posts that weren’t just opinion pieces on various topics related to mental health. The highest number of posts were those that shared direct links and excerpts of news articles relating to police and/or mental health.  Many of them spoke of a recent incident of a veteran who suicided in a parking lot of a Veterans Affairs medical hospital in Long Island, New York. Yet while these posts take the highest percentage, most of them don’t have any comments on them and are upvoted by one or two points. The second largest percentage however is taken by those seeking advice for someone else’s mental health. An example can be seen below where the user IAmBrownJesus, asks the community in the ‘Legal Advice’ subreddit for advice on how to deal with some issues in the hospitalisation of his father who suffers from schizophrenia. In general, a large chunk of the 72 posts were seeking advice, whether it be related to mental health or not. These posts had a lot more upvotes and engagement with their communities as well. The highest post in this category at this time of writing, is at 144 points, and is written by user ridl14 who details their narcissistic mother’s reactions towards their brother’s mental health incidents. A lot of the posts too involved incidents with the police ranging from negative tones of “being sick of them detaining me” to the more positive perspectives where they were a helpful ally.

The fact that advice posts take up most of percentage says a lot about the very nature of the internet space and mental health. While most of my previous research in my other blog posts were generally negative, with few in between being positive, users in these forum community spaces are quite open and comfortable in talking about their issues online and not with professionals outside the computer. These online communities are able to foster a sense of companionship with each other, each sharing similar experiences and/or beliefs in order to feel comfortable to seek valuable advice.

post 6Rf
My pie chart based on posts on the first three pages of the Reddit search results using the keywords ‘Police Mental Health’ (Mijares 2016)

In regards to using this data for future visual design responses, the large array of strong negative, positive and in between perspectives on my issue can prove to be interesting to show, especially if I increase my scope of data into a plethora of pages and sites. No matter how much viewers may know of my issue, they will be able to see on a spectrum in various contexts to what either the news outlets, blogs or individual users are saying about the issue and where they fall on the scale. They’ll be able to see where certain types of sites or communities fall on a spectrum of being more empathetic to the police or demanding justice for the mentally ill with zeal, or even which can do both. Another idea I had was finding common words used in article and post headings about my issue and then using those words to create word clouds whose size depends on word’s frequency of use. I say headings, because that’s usually what a reader reads first and what invites them to view the article or post. This means that authors of these posts are known to use ‘click-bait’ or generalised viewpoints to encourage the user to read it. I would hope that this would give insight for the viewer to see how media is able to manipulate perspectives of people, even more so those who don’t bother to read the actual article.

IAmBrownJesus 2016, [MI] Hospital refusing to treat mentally ill patient after transfer – Please Help!, Reddit, viewed 27 August 2016, <https://www.reddit.com/r/legaladvice/comments/4zp3xy/mi_hospital_refusing_to_treat_mentally_ill/>.

Mijares, J. 2016, “‘Police Mental Health’ – Reddit Search Results (First 3 Pages)” Pie Chart, data visualisation, Sydney, Australia.

Mijares, J. 2016, Process Flowchart, data visualisation, Sydney, Australia.

ridl14 2016, My brother was sectioned yesterday; Nmum’s reactions, Reddit, viewed 27 August 2016, <https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/comments/4y4ehx/my_brother_was_sectioned_yesterday_nmums_reactions/>.

Reddit 2016, /r/nosleep, viewed 27 August 2016, <https://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/>.

Reddit 2016, /r/raisedbynarcisssists, viewed 27 August 2016, <https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists>.

Reddit 2016, reddit, viewed  27 August 2016, <www.reddit.com>.

Reddit 2016, /r/relationships, viewed 27 August 2016, <https://www.reddit.com/r/relationships>.

Images (including the header image) included in this post were recorded by Jasmine Mijares (2016) of the Reddit site.

Post 5: An Ethnographic Approach to the Law Enforcement and Mental Health

While secondary research has been quite valuable thus far in my research process, I’ve found that personal accounts of experiences with mental illness are much more engaging to read. Thus, I’ve taken it upon myself to interview a peer on the general subject of mental illness to garner their experiences and thoughts, as well as probing for their opinion on the law enforcement’s involvement with mental illness. I structured my interview with general questions about mental illness as well with some hypothetical questions thrown in to observe their thought process. Below are the questions I prepared:

  1. What do you think about our generation and mental health?
  2. Where do you draw the line between a natural occurrence and a diagnosed disorder?
  3. Would you tell your employer if you had a mental health problem? Why or why not?
  4. If you had/have mental health or know someone who has/had mental health, when do you think it’s okay to call a helpline/seek professional help?
  5. What level do you seek to help yourself and what level do you seek to help another?
  6. What are your thoughts on the law enforcement’s involvement with mental health?

My peer, a 21 year old female university design student, was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety at a very young age. Even now, she still takes prescribed medication for it. She detailed to me her experience with the illness and how throughout high school, she became someone who others would seek help from their own issues because of her experience with it. In regards to my particular focus of research into the law enforcement and mental health, she stated that “…there’s always scales in these things.” She had difficulty trying to differentiate and measure the innocence of a mentally ill person. While she described that there’s people “who have mental illnesses that can be managed… and improved with appropriate assistance,” and how “putting [mentally ill persons] in jail can have really bad mental health impacts,” she interjected with, “but what if they’re a murderer and they’re going to go out killing people?” Hence, this is why she believes there’s a scale to this. She feels if there’s opportunity for people to have a chance to engage with society again through appropriate assistance, then “I don’t see why you need to shoot them or lock them up forever.”

“If someone is able to be monitored— in a discreet way— and is able to have the appropriate resources to function again in society without causing harm to  other people, I’d really want that to happen.”

Another interesting point she described was how difficult it is to diagnose someone “because it’s hard to blur that line [between natural reaction and actual illness] since you can just ask someone questions, but you don’t know if what they’re saying is the truth.” This very idea of ‘truth’ in diagnosis of mental illness really struck with me because of what I’ve researched previously. I’ve read of police cases where they take a mentally ill person to the hospital for a mental health assessment, only to be let go the day after just because they say that they don’t feel suicidal anymore. It’s such an odd balance between the freedom of choice for the mentally ill person and the authority of a social worker who has to be the judge in these cases of treatment. I asked my peer what she thought about this particular case example, and she exclaimed that it abhorred her “that they would just let him go” and “they should have monitored him for a bit longer.” She described that it was possibly just a lack of training and that “better protocol” should be put in place.

The interview overall proved be a fairly fruitful experience, and became more of a casual, yet passionate discussion that lasted for around 30 minutes. I probably should have focused my questions specifically to my research focus, as topics drifted across diagnosis, stigma, the online space, self-esteem, trust, relationships and the law enforcement. However, in correlation with my probe, I didn’t want to discuss so much, and rather receive instinctive perspectives on the topic, letting them educate themselves like I did by using the probe I’ve given them. You can view the full transcript interview of it here.

The probe I gave to my interviewee was a simple search each day on different sites of their choosing using very general keywords relating to the police and mental health, and recording their thoughts and experiences. I encouraged them to find something positive in their search, to gauge how difficult it was to find something of praise due to general negative public opinion on the topic. You can view the full results document here.

Mental Health Probe Results 5a
A screen cap of a finding that my interviewee recorded in her Facebook search (Anonymous 2016)
Mental Health Probe Results 5e
A screen cap of a finding that my interviewee recorded in her Twitter search (Anonymous 2016)

Overall, the most valuable product I got from my probe was knowing that someone out there is a little more educated now in the topic of the law enforcement and mental health. While it didn’t necessarily change her perspective on what she had currently in regards to the topic, it asserted and made her more aware of the smaller things that need to change in order for larger society and systems to change. She noted in her findings how there was a lack of medical staff who “currently seem unable to handle the number of people that need help and how “the world needs clarification on laws regarding criminal acts verses acts by mentally ill.” Her perspective in contrast to the interview seems to have widened slightly, from instead of focusing on what the law enforcement needs to do, she looks at the larger picture into how governments and the public health systems fall into the scene.

Despite all this however, I don’t feel I’ve gained much of anything new from what I already know about my topic. So while my probe was successful in educating my peer, it wasn’t as successful in adding new information to my research. It would have made more sense if I interviewed someone from who was part of the law enforcement or part of the public health system to obtain better insights and firsthand accounts of incidents relating to my topic. Nonetheless, it was an interesting exercise to conduct, and has given me ideas for the future assessment tasks in this subject. The following is a five point summary of what I’ve gained from these exercises.

  1. People need to be educated on the law enforcement and mental health to see the larger picture.
  2. It’s difficult to measure the innocence of a mentally ill person in relation to the police.
  3. There is a definite lack of treatment for mentally ill persons.
  4. Truth plays a large factor in the diagnosis of a mental illness.
  5. Smaller things need to change in order for the larger society and system to change in regards to the law enforcement and mental health.

Interview conducted by Jasmine Mijares at the DAB Building 6, University of Technology Sydney on the 16th of August 2016.

Images included in this post were recorded by my interviewee who wishes to remain anonymous (2016) of the sites, Facebook and Twitter.

Header Image:
Malland, J. 2016, Range Ta Chambre (Clean Up Your Room), arrestedmotion, viewed 26 August 2016, <http://arrestedmotion.com/2016/07/recap-seth-range-ta-chabre-teatro-india-999-contemporary/?images=1&gt>.

04 – Can we please just talk about mental health?

Having began researching various avenues through which designers, photographers and other creatives have contributed to the topic of mental health, I came across an article discussing a designer’s approach to tackling the stigma surrounding open discussion of mental health issues. The project is entitled ‘Let’s Talk About Mental Health’ and was begun by Jessica Walsh after being inspired by her work with Timothy Goodman on another project, ‘12 Kinds of Kindness’.

1 in 4 suffer from a mental illness
This minimal, two frame gif created by Jessica Walsh [2015] is simple, yet effective in delivering the widely unacknowledged fact that 1 in 4 people suffer, at some point in their lives, from a mental illness. Therefore, what’s such the big with talking about it?
Continue reading “04 – Can we please just talk about mental health?”

4 – Fun House

Hospitals are commonly known for their sterile environment, much like psychiatric wards. Design has the power to shape an environment and evoke emotions. UK artist and activist James Leadbitter has struggled with Mental illness during his lifetime and has been confined to many psychiatric wards under the public health system.

Leadbitter has undertaken a project called “Mad Love: A Designer Asylum”. Although hypothetical, Leadbitter explores through research what a psychiatric ward would look like if it were designed by the patients themselves. In collaboration with Hannah Hull they gathered information from over three hundred patients as well as psychiatrists,architects and designers. Mad Love, was opened up initially at the Foundation of Art and Creative Technology. Major sponsors were James Christian, an architect and a PHD researcher Benjamin Kolosowki. Leadbetter wanted the space to be “playful and exciting” (Slate 2015) with the idea of remodelling what a mental health hospital should appear as.

One of the key elements of the installation is that its design is “inviting” (Slate 2015) so a use of bold colours and textures have been used to create the environment. The design has a diverse range of assets including time that can be spent as a community and private time. For instance, the cooling tower is a modern day take on the padded cell. Completely sound proof, it allows the patient to scream, shout and vent. With its bright red colour and comfortable soft interior it creates a more inviting space for the patient as opposed to a sterile one. As well as the private elements there is a designated discussion area for around two to four people and is painted in pastel pink turkish delight colours. The space is tight-knit with the aim for a close and quiet conversation. The radical concept that Leadbitter is exploring is to make the asylum “safe” (Slate 2015) and challenge the negative stereotypes of mental illness by juxtaposing sensory experiences such as soothing colours, sounds and concepts more akin to a resort such as herbalists and conceptual art therapy mental. In this way mental illness is demystified and can be experienced in a nurturing environment more compatible with healing and less riddled with fear and judgment.


A sketch of the development of the padded cell.(Slate 2015)


The interior of the padded Cell. (Slate 2015)

As well as the physical environment being challenged from traditional stereotypes, there are also a range of programs developed such as drop in sessions, family visits, phone lines, workshops and conceptual art therapy.

Ultimately the idea represents only a microcosm of what needs to be achieved in the mental health system and hopefully with adequate funding, the idea can be fortified and practically implemented.

“A unique space where mutual care blossoms”

Leadbitter’s ultimate goal is to “attempt to create a unique space where mutual care blossoms, stigma and discrimination are actively challenged, divisions understood, and madness can be experienced in a less painful way” (MadLove 2016).


MadLove, 2016, United Kingdom, viewed 19th of August 2016, <http://madlove.org.uk/&gt;

The Eye – Slate’s Design Blog,2015, viewed 19th of August 2016 <http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2015/03/19/madlove_a_designer_asylum_from_james_leadbitter_the_vacuum_cleaner_is_a.html&gt;