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.