Echáo Jiang is a Communication Designer, artist and cultural observer based in London.
If you would like to discuss any ideas or commissions, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
© Echao Jiang 07/10
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Category Archives: Social Psychology
Posted on July 14, 2009
“Listen more, even when it’s dull and boring.”
Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, the central concept of Reflections On Talking And Listening; three animated shorts promoting the importance of emotional communication in order to help yourselves and those around you. With ever-rising levels of depression, especially in our developed world, it is more important than ever to talk to each other, and also listen to each other. Jiang, a young Chinese illustrator/animator living and working in London, has a self-proclaimed interest in “anthropology with an emphasis on psychology and the human condition”. Her Royal College of Art degree show project about emotional support is based upon extensive interviews recorded with a series of depressed individuals, and their thoughtful responses are played back anonymously as disembodied voices; drifting over animated talking heads that resemble monolithic mountains floating in a dream-like landscape of washed-out trees, waterfalls and songbirds (scene 1), over a desolate wasteland underneath an ominous gathering of gloomy clouds (scene 2), over a shattered visage of fragmented faces brought slowly back together (scene 3). These visions are contemplative and melancholic, but all suffused with a calming, ethereal atmosphere of understated beauty.
– Dean Kissick, Tank Magazine editor
Visual and Art Direction: Echao Jiang
Sound: Robin Barstow
All Rights Reserved, Royal College of Art 2009
Posted on March 10, 2009
FOR Laura May, the diagnosis came as something of a relief, but in reality it was the start of a much bigger problem.
After visiting her doctor last year with symptoms ranging from hair loss to panic attacks, she was diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar disorder.
With the benefit of hindsight, she can see the problem had been going on for some time, and at last she was able to find a solution.
Now the 25-year-old is using her experiences to help promote the Time to Change campaign, aimed at reducing the stigma attached to mental health problems.
“I’d been treated for depression since I was about 14 and it’s a long time to have a problem,” she said.
“So when I was actually diagnosed, it was a relief.
“I had gone to the doctor with various symptoms and he put me in for blood tests, a CT scan, everything, but it came back fine.
“Then he said it could be something mental which was affecting me physically, so I saw a psychiatrist at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford. They diagnosed me as having rapid cycling bipolar disorder.
“It takes hold so quickly that in the space of a week you can go from feeling suicidal to being totally elated.”
Laura has learned to accept her illness, but it means life is not all plain sailing.
She said: “It does mean I’m very creative. I paint, I write and I have a lot of energy to channel, but it has negative effects.
“I’m short-tempered and I get very angry. I also have a tendency to set myself up for a fall.
“I tend to spend a lot of money because I don’t think about the consequences of my actions. My partner has had a lot to put up with.”
Laura, from Braintree, has also had seven jobs in the past three years. She said: “Employers have had a mixed response to my illness. Some have been great, very understanding, but I get so restless.
“I find if I’m doing a good, challenging job, I can stay there.
“But companies see my high absence levels and that I need flexible working hours so I can attend psychiatric appointments.
“Every so often the doctors decide to change my medication a bit and when that happens, I can get symptoms that would mean I wasn’t a good employee.
“My family have been great. They make a joke of it, especially when I forget whole conversations, and that really helps me.
“My friends haven’t been so tolerant.
“I can’t go out and get drunk like I used to because that would remove the reason for taking my medication. So a lot of friendships have fallen by the wayside.
“The good thing about this campaign is that it’s about educating people about mental health.
“The first thing I did when I was diagnosed was go to the library and learn all about it.”
One in four people sufferer illness
TIME to Change is an ambitious project aimed at ending discrimination against people with mental health problems.
The programme features 35 schemes across the country and is led by Mental Health Media, Mind and Rethink.
Its research will be evaluated by the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College, London.
It is the first anti-discrimination programme aimed at changing people’s behaviour and recording the change.
Hilary Caprani, spokesman for Rethink and partner in Time to Change, said: “It’s an attitudinal change. A lot of the problems are created by ignorance.
“We’re more open about depression now than we were years ago, but we have a long way to go.
“There is still a stigma. People still struggle to get jobs if they have had time off for depression in the past.
“We know of one woman who had cancer. Her employer was really supportive and she got better, but when she was off with depression, they didn’t want to know. However, mental health problems are a lot more common than people realise.
“About one in four people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. So at some point in your live, most will know someone who has been affected.”
People don’t realise the effect of the stigma, she says.
“It can stop people getting the help they need and can lead to relationships breaking down,” she said.
The campaign has been given £16million by the Big Lottery Fund and £2million from Comic Relief.
5:10pm Wednesday 4th March 2009
By Lynne Milford »
Extracted from Braintree and Witham Times
Posted on March 10, 2009
The government is to devote funds to assist people who develop mental health problems because of the recession.
An extra £13m has been allocated for therapy services in England to help identify those who might be suffering from depression due to the downturn. Support workers will help those who have lost their jobs and suffer from depression and anxiety return to work. Mental health charities have welcomed the move, but some have questioned whether the money will be enough.
Concerns have also been raised about whether funds will get through to the right services.
The plans include training an extra 3,600 therapists and hundreds of specialist nurses to set up counselling centres across the UK by the end of next year.
It is hoped they will be able to spot people who might have psychological problems because of their financial difficulties.
“We must learn from the mistakes of past recessions.”
Paul Farmer, Mind
Under the scheme, a network will be created of what the government calls employment support workers who will offer advice on returning to the job market.
The mental health charity Mind welcomed the extra funding and said there had never been a more important time to invest.
Chief executive Paul Farmer said: “Redundancy and money worries put strain on family relationships, cause sleepless nights, trigger stress and increase the risk of developing depression.
“When it comes to the scale of the current recession we are in uncharted territory about how many people could be affected.
“We must learn from the mistakes of past recessions where people lost their job, their confidence and their self esteem leaving them unable to return to the workforce.”
Paul Corry, from the mental health charity Rethink, said: “One in four of us is going to experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives.
“We know from history that recessions, depressions and economic troubles bring on mental health problems in people.”
Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “We welcome this announcement, not least because we called for these measures to be introduced last year.
“Yet again we see that where the Conservatives lead, the government follows.”
Posted on March 9, 2009
User research has been an important procedure in the whole project development. So far, I have done 3 sessions with 3 different users, I have since found a series of facts and figures associated with depression. Those facts and figures will inform the content of the narratives in my animation. In general, my idea is to ‘unpack’ seemly simple and cliched facts about depression, transform them into effective visual representations that will emotionally engage the audience, hence help them understand the real truth behind those facts. The major concern I’m having at the moment is how to find my niche market, in other words, where are my targeted audience? Since the subject matter of the project has a complicated and sensitive nature, I have chosen to illustrate the core messages in a subtle and indirect manner rather than making it straight forward, thus it is somehow difficult to exactly predict the audience at the beginning. My goal is to make this project appealing to everyone including those who suffer from depression. This is a mutual platform for difficult and sensitive social messages to be discussed about openly in a non-direct yet still effective visual form. This method of visual transformation using drawing replacing texts can also be applied to areas outside of mental illness to which there are social stigmas attached. Set aside the social significance, drawing in this case is the most powerful and appropriate communication language among many other visual languages, I want to play my role as a drawer and visual communicator as efficiently as possible in this project.
A deeper level of user research will be taking place this week in order to gain a better understanding of the subject matter. I’m also vaguely deciding on the technique of the animation now, instead of hand draw each single frame, I will probably draw the stills and animate them on after effects, this way I can spend time and enjoy the process of drawing and mark making instead of worrying about the movement. Apart from the animation, a website designed specifically for this project is also underway and I will be working on it with a web designer soon.
Do check back regularly, I will keep you updated!
P.S. Any suggestions on the title of the project? Thanks!
Posted on January 28, 2009