What’s Next

Now that the Discovery phase is complete, we begin in the Research and Inspiration phase.

The first part of this phase is a research document. We have to research and review  20 different projects that are related to either the theme we chose or the treatment we chose. Each review should be 300-500 words each.

We haven’t received an official brief for the document just yet but I’m sure we will before next week.

I’m going to spend most of my midterm doing some research on Mental Health projects and apps as well as catching up on assignments.

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Supervisor Session #3

We met up for the third supervisor session of the semester on Wednesday.

Each of us spent 5 minutes talking through our treatment document that was due Wednesday morning. After we had finished, our supervisors Daniel and Hugh asked us any questions they had in relation to our theme and treatment.

The treatment document contained three treatments of our theme. With my theme being mental health, my treatments were an app, a website and a campaign.

After I had finished speaking about my treatment, I got feedback from my supervisors.

Daniel mentioned that my website treatment and campaign treatment realistically could be all one treatment. I never really thought about it beforehand but he had a point.

He also mentioned that for my app treatment, I can’t have too many features and to take that into consideration.

Hugh mentioned that for the campaign treatment, I need to be specific and I really need to focus on the effectiveness of it and how it’ll work.

I was then asked what treatment I’m leaning towards. I feel like the app is my favourite treatment. There isn’t really anything like it currently and it is a challenge for myself as I have never developed an app before.

I found the session helpful as it gave me insights into each of the treatments that I had never thought of before – all which will help me in the future.

The next session isn’t until after the midterm break, and we’re expected to have examples of inspiring research relating to our theme/treatment.

Treatment Document

Theme Statement

Mental health is extremely important and is still not spoken about enough. Many Irish students are faced with various mental health issues and the lack of support and help available makes it harder for them to cope. I am focusing on the theme of Mental Health so I can try to help students deal with and overcome their mental health problems so that they can live a happier and healthier life.

Target Audience

My target audience for my project is students. My reasoning behind this is that having good mental health is vital for students growing up so they are able to cope with whatever is thrown at them and allow them to be happy with themselves and their lives. Also the stress and pressure of school and college can impact their lives dramatically. Research shows that one in five young adults in Ireland aged between 19-24 experience mental health problems. (Source: Irish Independent) These figures are quite alarming, and it is clear that more help and awareness is needed for students.

 Treatment 1 – App

The first medium I am going to focus on for my treatment is an app. The reason why I feel an app would be a good medium to use is because apps are very accessible. According to statistics in 2015, up to 70% of the Irish population own a smartphone, with 41% of 16-24 year olds being connected during every waking hour of the day. (Source: Silicon Republic) It’s obvious that many young people own a smartphone and use apps daily. Also, since smartphones are portable, you can bring them with you anywhere – so no matter where the person is, they can easily access the app and use it whenever they need it.

The main concept of the app would be to focus on helping students who are experiencing mental health problems. The areas I would like to explore are:

  • Breathing exercises – the app can include breathing exercises that will help you calm down if you are angry, annoyed, upset or just want to relieve stress.
  • Meditation – different types of meditation can be included when you need to relax, unwind or also calm down from a long day, or help improve your mood throughout the day.
  • Panic attacks – if the user is in the middle of a panic attack, they can open the app and there will be a step by step process that will help to relieve the panic attack and help the user to calm down and feel better. This could also be used to help lessen future panic attacks.
  • Thought diaries – the app could contain journal entries where you can write down your thoughts, positive and negative aspects of your day, what you were happy about, what you can improve on, and more. This could be done in written form by typing on the keyboard or also through recordings by using the microphone on the device, as sometimes you can feel better by saying it aloud rather than just writing it down.

An approach to the app I would like to avoid is “grimness”. Of course it is a serious topic and it is very important, however I don’t want it to be too grim where it wouldn’t attract people to use it. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be too colourful and “happy” either, it needs to be balanced. I will take all this into consideration when designing the app, if it is the medium I choose to go along with.

I have researched a few mental health apps already and from my research I’ve found that there are apps for each aspect of the app I propose to do (i.e. an app solely for meditation, an app for panic attacks, etc.) but there isn’t one app that contains all these features, and this is where I feel the app will work well. Also, there isn’t a mental health app that contains all these features designed specifically for students.

Treatment 2 – Website

Recapping on my strengths, the second approach I would like to do is a website. I have always loved web design & development from the beginning of the course, and my skills have progressed throughout the years. We haven’t really done much website related things since second year, so doing a website will not only refresh my skills, but will also improve my skills and help me learn new things.

Again, since my target audience is students, the website will be aimed at them. Earlier I mentioned that 41% of 16-24 year olds in Ireland are connected online during every waking hour of the day. (Source: Silicon Republic) This statistic shows that most young people spend the majority of their day using the internet, which of course will include websites. From my own experience, I look at websites the majority of the time on a mobile, so I have to take into account that my website must be mobile friendly and be as effective on mobile devices as it would be on a desktop.

The key idea of the website would differ slightly from my first approach as I don’t think the concept for the app would work as well on a website. So instead, I was thinking of mixing two ideas – an info-graphic website, which will also include some of the ideas I had for the app, such as breathing exercises and steps to relieve panic attacks. This concept will help people become more aware of mental health and learn more about it, while also helping people who have mental health issues to deal with them.

The info-graphic part of the site will include relevant statistics regarding mental health among young people in Ireland. It may include some other things, such as:

  • The effects of mental health – how both positive and negative mental health affects your mind, your physical health, your career, and relationships
  • The stresses of mental health & the cures – tips on how to turn the stresses into cures that’ll help improve your overall mental health
  • Warning signs & symptoms – common signs & symptoms of mental health problems will be listed to help inform people who may be experiencing any of these symptoms
  • Coping with your mental health – this will include breathing exercises, helping with panic attacks, and tips on how to fight your mental health problems, etc.
  • Services – local and national services will be listed for those who need professional help or if they are looking for someone to talk to.

In relation to the style of the website, it should be visually appealing, especially as there will be a lot of information. If lots of info is just thrown on a website, it won’t entice the user to stay on the page and continue to read. It needs to be clear and concise without being too boring. From studying web design, I’ve learned that users skim rather than read things on websites so I will have to take that into account when designing the site. I have looked at a few info-graphics about mental health to get an idea of what looks good and what doesn’t. They are visually appealing while also giving important information at the same time.

Treatment 3 – Campaign

The final approach I would like to do is a campaign. I studied digital marketing last semester and I really enjoyed it and thought I was quite good at it. Doing a campaign would be a good way to improve my skills and gain more experience in that area, as I may consider doing digital marketing after college.

When done well, campaigns are so effective and can send out an important message. I chose to do a campaign as one of my approaches because personally, I feel there hasn’t been a really strong campaign based on Mental Health for students in ITB, or even anywhere in Ireland. Also, students use social media daily, so it’s a very effective tool to use when creating a campaign.

The concept of the campaign would differ from the app and the website, as they are more focused on helping students deal with their mental health, whereas the campaign will mostly be focused on raising awareness and letting people know that it is okay to have these issues and that there is always someone to talk to.

Overall, the campaign may include a range of different things, such as:

  • Posters – these posters can include information about mental health, tips, and factual information/statistics about mental health in Ireland. They will be visually appealing and will catch the attention of the students.
  • Videos – short videos talking about different areas of mental health (anxiety, depression, etc.), information about mental health and it also could include people talking about their battle with mental health.
  • Social media – sites like Facebook, Twitter & Instagram will be used to promote the campaign, inform students and give tips on how to cope.
  • Events – organising events in college that will address mental health that’ll let people know more about it and be fun for everyone, such as a Tea and Talk session, or something similar to bringing puppies into the college.

The one thing I have to consider with the campaign is that it must be effective, or else it won’t work. I need to do a lot of research and figure out how I can make it stand out and really get people interested and talking about it.

The style of the campaign has to relate to the effectiveness of it. If it’s boring, dull and uninteresting, it won’t work so I need to make sure it’s appealing and gives the right amount of information without it being too cluttered.

Research – Mental Health Campaigns

I did some research on campaigns based on Mental Health and found this really interesting one:

http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/not-myself-today-campaign

Mental Health Mood Walls

This campaign is called “Not Myself Today” and it was an installation of a mood wall. There were various pins stuck on the wall, each reflecting a different mood. Viewers were encouraged to take a pin off the wall that reflected their mood that day. The idea behind this was to show that it is okay to show your emotions.

I think this campaign is really nice as it is inspiring, yet simple. It has a powerful message and it’s also visually appealing with all the different colours.

Supervisor Session #2

Last week, we had our second session with our supervisors. We each had to talk about the treatment document that’s due on the 26th – where we were at in relation to the three different treatments, who are audience is and why we chose them.

I talked about wanting to do a website and an app, and mentioned that I wasn’t 100% sure about my third treatment – I want to do a campaign but wasn’t really sure how to go about it.

We had a discussion about it and one of my classmates mentioned having the “community” involved – for example, for Mental Health Week in the college, the Student Union brought in puppies for everyone to play with. She said to try to do something along the lines of that for my campaign.

My supervisor Daniel said that it would be a good idea to maybe focus my topic of Mental Health on students, so the app would be for students, the website for students and the campaign would be aimed at students. I had never really thought of focusing it on students but I think it’s a great idea so I’m going to do that.

I find the supervisor sessions really helpful as it’s great to get opinions and ideas from other people as they can think of things that I may have never thought of.

Treatment – First Approach

The first medium I am going to focus on for my treatment is an app. I’ve already spoken about the idea of doing an app for my Final Year Project – it was the first medium I thought about when I picked my topic of mental health.

My target audience for my project would be young people – teenagers, students and young adults. My reasoning behind this is that having good mental health is vital for young people growing up so they are able to cope with whatever is thrown at them and allow them to be happy with themselves and their lives. Also the stress of school, college, friendships and family issues can impact their lives dramatically. Research shows that one in five young adults in Ireland aged between 19-24 experience mental health problems, as well as one in six children aged between 11-13. (source: Irish Independent) These figures are quite alarming, and it is clear that more help and awareness is needed for young people.

The reason why I feel an app would be a good medium to use is because apps are very accessible. According to statistics in 2015, up to 70% of the Irish population own a smartphone, with 41% of 16-24 year olds being connected during every waking hour of the day. (source: Silicon Republic) It’s obvious that many young people own a smartphone and use apps daily. Also, since smartphones are portable, you can bring them with you anywhere – so no matter where the person is, they can easily access the app and use it whenever they need it.

The main concept of the app would be to focus on helping people who are experiencing mental health problems. The areas I would like to explore are:

  • Breathing exercises – the app can include breathing exercises that will help you calm down if you are angry, annoyed, upset or just want to relieve stress.
  • Meditation – different types of meditation can be included when you need to relax, unwind or also calm down from a long day, or help improve your mood throughout the day.
  • Panic attacks – if the user is in the middle of a panic attack, they can open the app and there will be a step by step process that will help to relieve the panic attack and help the user to calm down and feel better. This could also be used to help lessen future panic attacks.
  • Thought diaries – the app could contain journal entries where you can write down your thoughts, positive and negative aspects of your day, what you were happy about, what you can improve on, and more. This could be done in written form by typing on the keyboard or also through recordings by using the microphone on the device, as sometimes you can feel better by saying it aloud rather than just writing it down.

An approach to the app I would like to avoid is “seriousness”. Of course it is a serious topic and it is very important, however I don’t want it to be too serious where it wouldn’t attract people to use it and would look too dull. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be too colourful and “happy” either, it needs to be balanced. I will take all this into consideration when designing the app, if it is the medium I choose to go along with.

I have researched a few mental health apps already (on my previous post here) and from my research I’ve found that there are apps for each aspect of the app I propose to do (i.e. an app solely for meditation, an app for panic attacks, etc) but there isn’t one app that contains all these features, and this is where I feel the app will work well.

The Treatment – Our First Deliverable

We were given our first deliverable for our FYP – a Treatment.

“The treatment is a document which will describe three alternative approaches to the exploration and representation of the chosen theme (mine being mental health). The main purpose of the treatment is to describe an approach and to convince the reader of the merits of the particular approach, medium etc. Treatments may describe key ideas, concepts, viewpoints, approaches, skills, technologies, materials, platforms, styles etc.”

The treatment is due next Wednesday, so I need to start researching different approaches to my topic of mental health.

Mental health can be represented in many different mediums, but I also have to consider my strengths and weaknesses here – there is no point in writing 500 words about an approach that I won’t want to do and that doesn’t work with my strengths (for example, a documentary.)

Ideally I would like my project to fall in the lines of these mediums: a website, a visual project / branding, an app or marketing. I feel like any of these mediums would work well to create a good project.