It isn’t just us dabbling in novel mental health communications
This website was created to feature the unique and interesting ideas that UniSA Communication Design students produce when given mental health topics to digest.
They can be browsed from the home page.
But more broadly, this site is intended to spark people’s imagination on how we can improve mental health literacy through novel product, service, campaign and event development.
If you’ve not come across the term ‘mental health literacy’ before:
Mental health literacy is defined as “knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management and prevention”¹. It includes the ability to recognize specific disorders; knowing how to seek mental health information; knowledge of risk factors and causes, of self-treatments, and of professional help available; and attitudes that promote recognition and appropriate help-seeking¹².
I’d probably go a little further than just knowledge about mental disorders and include knowledge about how people build positive states of mental health, that is, how to build a life in which you experience awe, compassion, connection, empathy, gratitude, happiness, kindness, optimism, purpose and resilience.
The basic idea (identical in concept to ‘health literacy’) is that if people know more about mental health, they will be in a better position to improve their own and that of others.
And we aren’t the only people around exploring how mental health concepts can be blended into new products, services, campaigns and events.
Lynda, from the VMH team, sent me this the other day. It is the project of a student from HSE Art and Design School in Russia. It is a concept soda brand that matches flavours to different psychological disorders, providing drinkers with the chance to learn more about these disorders.
I think it is beautiful design work.
If you think it seems a little strange to connect education about mental disorders with soda, you’d probably be right.
But it is this kind of experimentation with how we start conversations around mental health that we really like at VMH. It helps those of us (like myself) who have become somewhat stale in how we talk about these topics to consider new possibilities.
I also hope that it erodes the stigma or embarassment that those who may struggle with these conditions experience in hiding their conditions.
Have you come across any interesting examples of mental health concepts being communicated in unusual ways? We’d love to hear about them
Source: Conversation with Bing, 07/07/2023
(1) Mental health literacy – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_health_literacy.
(2) Mental health literacy | The British Journal of Psychiatry | Cambridge Core. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/mental-health-literacy/5563369643662EC541F33D1DD307AD35.
(3) Mental health literacy | Queensland Mental Health Commission. https://www.qmhc.qld.gov.au/awareness-promotion/prevention-initiatives/mental-health-literacy.
(4) Mental health literacy: A review of what it is and why it matters.. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-54979-004.