Wider Context Research

Historical / Factual / Statistics

  • “References to mental illness can be found throughout history. The evolution of mental illness, however, has not been linear or progressive but rather cyclical. Whether a behaviour is considered normal or abnormal depends on the context surrounding the behaviour and thus changes as a function of a particular time and culture. In the past, uncommon behaviour or behaviour that deviated from the socio-cultural norms and expectations of a specific culture and period has been used as a way to silence or control certain individuals or groups. As a result, a less cultural relativist view of abnormal behaviour has focused instead on whether behaviour poses a threat to oneself or others or causes so much pain and suffering that it interferes with one’s work responsibilities or with one’s relationships with family and friends.” –Noba Project
  • “The term ‘mental health’ was popularised in the early 1900s by physicians, social reformers and former asylum patients. They wanted to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, and said ‘illness’ reinforced prejudices against asylum patients because it implied segregation between the sick and the well. Focusing on health countered a persistent misconception that only some people are prone to psychiatric problems.
  • “Christianity’s influence on mental health care remained dominant for centuries. For example, clergyman Francis Willis famously treated King George III. The York Retreat, founded by Quakers in the 1790s, was the most influential asylum of its time. It was one of the first private asylums to shun physical restraint and coercion. Its new methods, grounded more in religion than medicine, were called ‘moral treatment’, in deliberate contrast to ‘medical treatment’.
  • “Many asylums were crowded, hopeless places by the early 1900s, increasingly separated from the outside world. These isolated institutions became testing grounds for controversial and dangerous treatments such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and lobotomy. Such treatments helped some patients, but they reinforced the idea that asylums were places no-one wanted to end up. Asylums did not survive criticism in the 1970s from ex-patients, feminists and the antipsychiatry movement. Psychiatry’s focus has since moved from asylums to pharmaceuticals.” –Science Museum
  • “Katherine Darton’s Notes of the history of mental health care
    (on the Mind website) begins in 10,000 BC. She says “in prehistoric times there was, as far as historians can tell, no division between medicine, magic and religion.” She refers to Stone Age evidence of trepanning, “study of cave drawings” of “mesolithic people” and “A cave painting in Ariege, France” that “shows a strange being with human feet and hands and antlers who has been identified as a ‘psychiatrist (witch doctor)’, but it is not clear how this identification has been made”-Studymore

The Impact Your Concept has on the World

My concept is all about the normalisation of mental illness – something which people have been striving to achieve for over a century now. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of or scared of, yet there is such a stigma surrounding it, it is hard not to feel that way to a lot of people. People who don’t have a mental illness are quite prone to being uneducated on the topic of it, and can therefore contribute to the stigma with their blind fear-mongering. My concept will hopefully be a good place to start a conversation about these illnesses and lift some of the misconstrued ideas surrounding them, and also let the people who have the illnesses know that they are not alone.


Current and Past Promo Material

Past:

Present:

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How Your Concept has been Utilised in Social Media

The 21st century brought with it a surge of smart technology, and millennials that are very savvy in using it. Social media makes it easier than ever to reach out to friends, loved ones, and so many strangers at the touch of a screen. This means that it is much easier for a minority groups’ voices to be heard, especially if a big outlet shares a link to a post and gives it a huge audience of people from many different backgrounds. Mentally ill people are no exception to being tech-savvy and take the opportunity as it comes, taking this amazing new platform and speaking their thoughts out to the world.

Previously, the voices of mentally ill people have been drowned out by the biggest voice there was – the media. While newspapers and TV news are both still very loud voices, for the first time in history the public has a platform where they can express their thoughts and choose what kind of audience it will be directed to.

Social media is utilised by many to express their thoughts, feelings, and views on mental health. For example, a tweet from a relatively popular twitter account fighting back against stigma surrounding bipolar disorder could be seen be hundreds, if not thousands of people. This audience can dramatically increase through interactions with said tweet – a like can spread it a little, a retweet spreads it to the whole retweeters audience.


Find Designers who have used GIGA as a means of Social Action

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