For this project, we are tasked to look into potential FYP Proposal topics, and I decided that I wanted to work on Mental Health and wellness among youths in tertiary education, especially University students.
Personally, I chose this specific age group as that it is the age where most students would face existential crisis. And sometimes, our thoughts can be rather toxic if we do not know how to deal with these feelings and things can go south if our state of mental health is not handled well. Hence, I wanted to work on using design to create resources for the mental well-being of students in University.
My intended outcome of how my deliverable may be eventually be used or applied is via a mental health kit/welfare pack like this:
With that, lets begin with the research and drafts for this project! 🙂
RESEARCH AND PROJECT BREAKDOWN
Target audience: Youths in tertiary education (University students: 18~24 y/o)
I want to let other people know that they are not alone in facing mental health issues in University and it is very common because everyone has different threshold to managing stress and ways of coping. And sometimes when things get rough, we forget to take care of ourselves and are too hard up on ourselves. I want the deliverable to help University students manage and alleviate their stress levels by providing resources through design to manage their mental health in their own time.
List no more than 5 keywords that related strongly to your research interests.
Mental Health, Self-care, Youth (University Students), Stories, Illustration
Possible Research Questions:
- How can I re-design the necessary resources required for youths to want to take care of their own mental health?
- What can I do with illustrations to breach the topic on mental health to youths?
- How can I bring participatory design to make the topic of mental health in youth more relatable so they can voluntarily reach out for help when needed?
My research objectives:
- To inculcate ways to cope with stress levels of tertiary students, by using design to create resources.
- Breach the topic through illustrations on ways to manage mental health and prevent the onset of potential mental health issues.
- To educate target audiences through short-stories and encouragements that Mental Health awareness is for everyone.
- Using design to attract target users to be receptive to self-care and awareness of their mental health.
- Using illustrated stories of target audiences to show relatability and build rapport in mental health community in university.
Research and Findings:
Convince with findings why is this needed? Why is it important for you to do this? Why this target audience? What they might be going through? How do they feel? What is the statistics of University students going through mental health issues?
- More than 1 in 10 people in Singapore have suffered from a mental disease at least once in their lifetime.
- More than 75% of all mental health conditions begin before the age of 24, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness in USA.
- Youths aged 18-24 have the greatest incidence of mental disorders among all age groups, with the first onset of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) often recognized in their twenties.
- More than 60% of youths feel uncomfortable seeking help regarding their mental health.
- Young people have a lower probability of seeking help, comprehend treatment options less and are more prone to reject the existence of depression as compared to elders.
Thus, mental health intervention in University is such a critical time as there is lack of information on the importance and education among tertiary education students to start taking care of their own mental health.
What are the consequences and statistics when their mental health needs are not addressed?
- If left untreated, mental health symptoms may last for a long time and worsen, making it harder to treat.
- Mental health symptoms may grow more prominently and affect multiple aspect in their life.
- Character development of young adults may be affected when symptoms are not addressed.
It is important to equip members of society with relevant information to cope with their stress and negativity by taking care of their mental health.
What can we do to help?
- As individuals we all have a personal responsibility to learn about good mental health and to build up mental resilience, in order to seek help early if necessary.
- Prof Kwok, who is also Associate Provost (Student Life) at NTU, said that tertiary students could be a “target population for certain kinds of intervention”. These interventions could include building a more supportive culture in tertiary institutions and workplaces, he added. For example, peers could look out for friends who are grappling with “extraordinary pressures”, and encourage them to seek help from counsellors.
Bibliography of findings:
Project Output Methodology:
This project will focus on providing resources through design for target audiences. To educate youths (University) about the importance of their mental health via illustrations, provide emotional rapport and affirmation through relatability using story-telling, and where they can look for help.
- Collect target audience’s stories by conducting a survey, whereby target audiences describe their mental health encounters and how they coped with it.
(Purpose: To make visible the state of mental health of university students through real-life experiences. It is also a form of engagement.)
- Select the stories to illustrate based on relatable experiences or feelings of target audiences.
(Purpose: To make anonymise the surveyee’s story and make it relatable to target audiences who might face the same scenario.)
- Illustrate the stories into a short-story zine and have a resolution to problem.
(Purpose: Relatable issues faced by target audiences can have a way to cope with the issue, regardless if it’s to change their perspective or next call of action.)
- Insert quotes of encouragement from surveyees who had gone through that feeling and overcame it. At the back include helplines to get in touch with when the reader decides to seek help.
(Example: “There are times where I feel like I fell apart.”
Illustrated Comic: 4 quadrants of metaphorical scenes where student is broken and gets back up stronger.
Resolution Quote: ‘You can fall, but don’t stay broken for too long. Pick yourself up and start again! You can do it!’)
T-shirt, Comic Zine, Postcard, Keychain, Mindfulness colouring page..
Potential application of Deliverables (Who can I work with?):
- Mental Health Campaign or Workshop products for University students.
- Promotional material for University Student well-being centre.
- Co-branding with an existing youth fashion line to raise publicity and mental health awareness amongst buyers.
The following are the exploration of how I would like my deliverable to turn out.
To see the final outcome of how this project turned out, CLICK HERE.