At this campaign’s philosophical core is the principle that everyone occupies a position on a mental health continuum, be it in good mental health or not and it is a principle that ties society together in relation to mental health.
The continuum is essentially a live entity representing the mental health of all of society; it is fluid and subject to change. It represents the entire spectrum of moods and mental health states it is possible to experience.
This campaign hopes to lift the burden on those who are more profoundly affected by mental health issues, and allowing those affected the necessity of learning how to tolerate the mental health issues they are currently experiencing by presenting glimpses of this continuum.
As I have moved from stage to stage with this design I have tried to focus in on key driving statements in order to arrive at a place where my design is credible, effective and potential achievable.
1.) My aim is to create more solidarity with those affected by mental health issues and reduce stigma.
2.) I aim to do this by focusing on the whole of society.
3.) To do this I need to find something that ties all of society together with regard to mental health – and that something is the reality that we all occupy a position on the mental health continuum – be it good mental health or not and this continuum is fluid and subject to change.
The 4 sketches above represent very early concepts which mainly focused on stigma in the workplace. The first 3 suggest descriptive tools housed at each work station where an individual could describe approximately what's going on for themself with regard to their mental health and by everybody doing the same the spectrum of mental health in that workplace would be displayed albeit not anonomously .
The 4th sketch represents a wearable item to be worn by either a person affected by mental health issues or in solidarity by a friend or relative of someone affected.
All of these initials concepts were quite crude and naive. I've been reliably informed by experienced designers and professionals who have worked on mental health projects that this is the way it is when embarking on a challange of this nature, you can't get it right first or for that matter second time. My concepts needed to be worked at and reworked. That was why it was so important to have continual feedback and critical analysis from a diverse range of research participants as well as my university tutors. This continual process insured I ultimately produced a project that was widely endorsed and credible.
The next round of concepts stuck to the idea of a wearable, this time in the form of high end jewellery which could be worn by anybody. The jewellery was to encompass the idea of a continuum through it's form (either a figure of eight ring or a wearable in the form of a moebius strip) or by having a dynamic property which was in constant flux.
In these images I was playing around with liquids or bubbles being subject to constant motion as a result of the movement of it's wearer, and in doing so telling the wearer or onlooker that we all occupy a position on the same mental health continuum as those who are profoundly affected by mental health issues and that it is subject to change depending on differing personal circumstances. This dynamic effect was intended to arouse solidarity with those more profoundly affected.