Depression has become one of the most disabling contemporary conditions: many more people are being treated with anti-depressant drugs every year with no evidence of major long-term improvement. The way our society is treating depression is questionable, and this has intrigued me sufficiently to create a project about it.
The project is based firstly on user-centered research, including interviews with depression sufferers and people who have previously had experience with depression. The materials were analysed through brain-storming sessions, producing a brain map that was divided into two categories: information gained from depression sufferers; and materials obtained from non-depression sufferers, including friends and families of sufferers.
I discovered that depression is exacerbated by social circumstances: the most important points including resistance to open discussion of problems, lack of willingness to listen to emotional concerns, and lack of understanding of people’s differences. These vital points informed most of my project content, and since they are not exclusive to depression sufferers, my targeted audience therefore moved to a more general public. This piece has since become a public-awareness campaign about the importance of emotional communication through talking and listening, to prevent social conditions –such as perceived peer pressure – from affecting our mental health.
This project is user-dependent and is an ongoing platform, encouraging the audience to be a part of a large community in order to spread information. I am hoping to develop it further into a fully functional, web-based service that could be delivered through new interfaces, such as iPhones.
Reflections on Talking and Listening is an entirely web-based campaign promoting the importance of open discussions and dynamic dialogues from a wide range of audiences. Unlike other public promotional pieces, I have avoided using traditional print-based formats, such as posters and leaflets. My aim is to create a paper-free system that has the same function and effects, and is ongoing, user-interactive and environmentally sustainable.