MYND - MFA Graphic Design Thesis Project

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MYND Thesis Process Book

AN MFA THESIS PROJECT by KEVIN FITZSMONS

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CONTENTS

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01 02 03 TOPIC OVERVIEW & RESEARCH

VISUAL IDENTITY

“WE” MAGAZINE

Introduction

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Introduction

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Introduction

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Background Data

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Keywords

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The Content

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Focus Group

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Color Palette

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Development

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Insights

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Typography

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Problem & Goal

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Naming & Logo Development

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Opportunities, Strategies, & Deliverables

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04 05 06 MYND SOCIAL APP

ANTI-STIGMA CAMPAIGN

MYMYND.ORG BRAND WEBSITE

Introduction

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Introduction

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Introduction

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User Control

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Visual Concept

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First Explorations

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A Safe Platform

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Version 1.0

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User Testing

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Final Website

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Functionality

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Wireframing

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Final Development

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Conclusion

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Sources

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MYND Thesis Process Book

TOPIC OVERVIEW AND RESEARCH

07 Introduction 08 Background Data 10 Focus Group 16 Insights 23 Problem and Goal 24 Opportunities, Strategies, and Deliverables

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INTRODUCTION The mental health of teenagers has long been an issue that has gotten overlooked in the United States. However, the number of teenagers suffering from mental health issues is at a record high, the majority receiving no treatment at all, and most of those who do receive treatment, receive insufficeint treatment. Those same numbers are increasing at record rates and continuing to ignore the issue is simply too dangerous. While there have long been campaigns from numerous third party organizations focused on spreading awareness, that awareness can only be a first step. Awareness alone only does so much without giving people a real understanding of the problem, and its severity. That’s what I want to do. I want people to take that second step, to really understand the problem, so that it can actually be addressed. I want to do this by going straight to those the issue impacts most.

The dialogue surrounding mental health is innefective and failing. The conversation is being held between individuals observing the problem from a distance, not those that live with, and fight, this problem on a daily basis. National standards for health education only address physical health without even a mention mental health. Why, when suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers, are teens not being taught about their own mental health? There is a stigma around mental illness that cause those suffering to feel ashamed and embarassed about their struggles, resulting in the instinct to try and hide it, or pretend it’s not there, only making things worse. A teenager, especially one struggling with severe anxiety or depression, cannot be expected to figure out what they are struggling with when they know nothing about it. They definitely cannot be expected to know what to do about it and make the first move to get help. Yet that is what is currently expected of them.

The number of teenagers suffering from mental health issues is at a record high, most receiving no treatment at all.


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BACKGROUND DATA Studies have shown that just over 70% of all mental illness cases can be diagnosed before the age of 25, some as early as 11. Because of this we know that early detection and intervention is crucial to the proper treatment of mental health issues. This is why addressing the rapidly increasing rates of mental health issues among teenagers in the US is so important. Nearly 2 million teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 report experience sever depression regularly, causeing major disruption to their daily lives. That is over 11% of American teenagers and has risen nearly 40% in the last decade. Additionally, that only accounts for reported cases of depression. It does not account for unreported cases, or any other mental health issues teenagers are living with. Anxiety disorders are shockingly common among teenagers. 20% of teenage boys, and 30% of teenager girls, meet the standards of diagnosable anxiety disorders. In total that accounts for over 6.3 million teenagers that suffer from anxiety disorders such as OCD, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, or PTSD, to name just a few. The biggest problem however is not the shear numbers of teenagers suffering from mental health issues, the biggest problem is that they are not receiving the help they need. Nearly two of every three teenagers with sever depression do not get any treatment, and fewer than 1 in 10 get treatment on a regular basis. That number increases to 80% for teenagers with anxiety disorders. Considering that suicide hase risen to be the second leading cause of death for American teenagers, those numbers are unsettling.

The National Health Education Standards (NHES) and the Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT) do not have anything that includes mental health education. These sets of standards and guidlines are used across the country in both private and public schools and need to have elements that do something to adress mental health literacy. In Canada, TeenMentelHealth.org is focused on addressing the issue of mental health literacy. It is an issue in Canada just as it is in the United States. TeenMentalHealth.org has their Pathway Through Care program that is designed to integrate the services provided by youth mental health organizations with student health programs in schools. Guy Winch is a pschologist with a great TED Talk on what he calles “emotional hygiene�. He central message is the prioritization of physical health over mental health and how he believes that needs to change. He also suggests ways he thinks this change can be accomplished. It was eye opening because it was somehting I had never thought about before but once he brought it up seemed so obvious a problem.


MYND Thesis Process Book

20% 30% OF TEENAGE BOYS

OF TEENAGE GIRLS

MEET REQUIREMENTS FOR DIAGNOSABLE ANXIETY DISORDERS

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FOCUS GROUP

The focus group’s purpose is to gain insight into how people are currently thinking about mental health, if they are thinking about it at all. The focus group consisted of three parts. First I had them take a personality test (Big 5 traits) to gain some better insight into who they are. The ‘Big Five’ are broad categorizations of common personality traits. It is important to note that each of the five personality factors represents a range between two extremes. For example: the trait of “Extroversion” is a spectrum between extreme extroversion (high) and extreme introversion (low); in reality nearly everyone will lie somewhere in between the two extremes. Next I had them fraw a picture of anxiety. (Those drawings appear above the participant’s name.) The last part was me leading a group discussion using socratic questioning that I prepared. The most important insight were gathered from the discussion, the rest of it was helpful at the time, especially to get the participants into the desired mindset.


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ADAM

JACKIE

Adam is a native of San Francisco. He is a 27 year old with a masters degree from USC, living in the Mission district, and working as a structural engineer. Adam went to a small private high school in the city that he describes as “academically challenging” and “socially accepting.” Adam’s experience with mental health is more recent. His girlfriend of two years has struggled with depression. When she told him he realized how little he knew about it and did what he could to educate himself.

Jackie grew up in Los Angeles and attended public school her entire life. She is 28 years old. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in communications and is now working in the marketing department of a video game publishing company in the bay area. Her connection to mental health is very personal. Both Jackie and her mother suffer from depression. Jackie’s depression began manifesting early on in high school. Luckily, because of her mother’s history, it was recognized early she has been receiving regular treatment ever since.

Big 5 Personality Test Results:

Big 5 Personality Test Results:

Openness:

Openness:

Conscientiousness:

Conscientiousness:

Extraversion:

Extraversion:

Agreeableness:

Agreeableness:

Neuroticism:

Neuroticism:


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TYLER

PAUL

Tyler, 27 years old, grew up in San Francisco with two older brothers. All three were accomplished athletes from an early age. Tyler would go on to turn down the option to play college sports in favor of a pre-med program in Louisianna. Tyler suffered from depression but it was not diagnosed until his junior year of college when it became severe enough he had to drop out and return to the bay area. He started working in tech as a programmer and completed his degree in computer science earlier this year.

Paul grew up in Denver. He is 29 years old and after going to college in the south bay he remained in the bay area working for environmental non-profits. He is now engaged and attending law school. Paul and his immediate family members have been lucky enough to have never personally struggled with mental health issues. Looking back however he does suspect a couple friends may have been dealing with something.

Big 5 Personality Test Results:

Big 5 Personality Test Results:

Openness:

Openness:

Conscientiousness:

Conscientiousness:

Extraversion:

Extraversion:

Agreeableness:

Agreeableness:

Neuroticism:

Neuroticism:


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KATE

ZACH

Kate is 26 years old and has lived in San Francisco her entire life. She has always been an accomplished student and graduated at the top of both her high school and her college classes. Kate has never had any mental health issues herself but has had multiple friends who have, beginning in high school with her best friend. Kate became someone for her friend to lean on and talk to before having any idea what she could do to help. Kate has since educated herself on mental health to better help her friends but in the process developed somewhat of a passion for the issue.

Zach grew up in a small town in Colorado; he is 28 years old. Since graduating from college with a degree in political science he has gotten engaged and joined the military with the ultimate goal of working for federal law enforcement. Before joining the military he did not know much about mental health. Zach has never personally dealt with any mental health issues but meeting a veteran with PTSD opened his eyes to the issue. His mental health is now something he consciously tries to maintain.

Big 5 Personality Test Results:

Big 5 Personality Test Results:

Openness:

Openness:

Conscientiousness:

Conscientiousness:

Extraversion:

Extraversion:

Agreeableness:

Agreeableness:

Neuroticism:

Neuroticism:


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ASHLEY

MICHAEL

Ashley grew up in San Francisco. She is 26 years old and attended private schools her entire life. She is what most would consider and overachiever. Ashley was an accomplished student and athlete while also participating in theatre productions and working part time through most of high school and college. She now works for a non-profit in Oakland, CA. Ashley does not consider herself someone who has ever had mental health struggles but admits being very familiar with stress and anxiety.

Michael is a 28 year old bay area native. He has grown up with a cronic, and permanent, medical condition. It was never life threatening but it has had a major impact on his life. While he and his famly learned to manage his medical condition, they did not forsee the effect it would have on his mental health. Michael suffers from depression, which began in high school due to the way his condition was restricting what he could or could do. He now monitors his mental health very carefully even though he no longer receives regular treatment for depression.

Big 5 Personality Test Results:

Big 5 Personality Test Results:

Openness:

Openness:

Conscientiousness:

Conscientiousness:

Extraversion:

Extraversion:

Agreeableness:

Agreeableness:

Neuroticism:

Neuroticism:


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NINA

ALLISON

Nina grew up in Marin County. She attended private school in Marin until high school when she attended a prep school in Connecticut before returning to California for college. Nina has always been someone with a clear life-plan and she is very much on track with that plan. She is 29, recently married, and working in public relations in San Francisco. Nina says she has “normal stress� regularly but has never had any mental health issues or known anyone close to her to have had mental health issues.

Allison grew up in, and still lives in, San Francisco. She is now 25 and working in real estate after graduating from Georgetown and moving home from Washington DC a year ago. She has struggled with severe anxiety and suffered from panic attacks since she was thirteen. She began going to therapy as a freshman in high school and has been going regularly ever since with no plans to stop.

Big 5 Personality Test Results:

Big 5 Personality Test Results:

Openness:

Openness:

Conscientiousness:

Conscientiousness:

Extraversion:

Extraversion:

Agreeableness:

Agreeableness:

Neuroticism:

Neuroticism:


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INSIGHT 1: MENTAL HEALTH VS. PHYSICAL HEALTH Eight of the ten participants agreed that, generally, mental/emotional injuries are more serious than physical injuries. This was something I was surprised by considering the widespread acknowledgement of societies prioritizing physical health over mental health that I have found in my research, which all ten participants recognized was true. It was interesting to hear the explainations of this opinion, as well as why society values the physical over the mental. “Except for really serious crippling ones, physical injuries will generally heal over time. You just have to wait. I can break my arm and it just gets put in a cast until it’s not broken anymore. A mental or emotional injury doesn’t heal like that. If you just wait for it go away it’s probably gonna get worse.” — Kate “I think because people can see physical injuries they’re more afraid of them. I think a lot of people mistake the ability to hide mental injuries in public for overcoming them, making them seem a lot more managable than they really are.” — Michael I thought this was an interesting point. People interpreting hiding a mental injury, suppressing it, as overcoming it. In reality that is the most unhealthy thing to do. Ignoring it is dangerous and usually only makes things worse. People saying “just shake it off” or “snap out of it” needs to stop. According to a 2012 study published by Pediatrics (the offical journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics) 13.9–21.4% of high school aged youths (range from multiple samples) qualify to be diagnosed as engaging in Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI). The single most at-risk group, according to

study results, was ninth grade girls at 19%. Common behavioral methids of self harm differed by gender with cutting being the most common form of NSSI among girls and hitting themselves the most common among boys. This study played a role in NSSI becoming it’s own psychiatric diagnosis in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It had previously been considered a symptom of other mental health disorders.

“I feel like the number of people who self-harm, like cutting, shows how much worse mental injuries are. They’re using physical injury to escape the mental injury.” — Jackie

I noticed while reading this study other articles that physical injuries in the context of being the result of mental health issues are often referred to as “superficial” injuries. Another thought while reading was that I need to look more into self medicating by teens with drugs and alcohol. It seems similar to self-harm.


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INSIGHT 2: TERMINOLOGY After talking to my participant I think the terminology aspect of the dialogue is going to be more important, play a bigger role, than I originally thought. I didn’t think it would be a question that took up a lot of time but I was wrong, it sparked a lot more conversation than I expected it to. They brought some things up in ways I hadn’t thought about. The way we use certain words seems like a bigger problem than I thought. “I thought [they were] the same thing for a long time until I found out PTSD was an anxiety disorder. Stress and PTSD are not comparable.” — Zach One participant on the second day (Nina) suggested anxiety was a normal thing. She equated being anxious to being stressed and said it was normal for everyone. This sparked a suprisingly intense discussion. Allison has struggled with severe anxiety since her early teenage years so she has a deep understanding of the issue, and the difference between anxiety and stress. While I knew the difference between anxiety and stress, what Zach said expanded my understanding of anxiety. I didn’t know PTSD was an anxiety disorder (I researched this and confirmed it*). Panic attacks were the most extreme version of anxiety I thought of before. Looking at anxiety as a category of many disorders puts it on a bigger scale than I thought of it before. — Anxiety & Depression Associtation of America “Too many people say ‘depressed’ when they mean ‘sad’. And I know I’m as guilty as everyone else. We all use hyperbolic language but in this case it does real damage.” — Tyler

“Just like people misusing ‘depressed,’ way too many people use words like ‘crazy’ or ‘nuts’ casually. I have no idea if it’s even possible to change it, but it’s not helping.” — Adam This wasn’t a new thought for me but I was surprised that someone who suffers from depression is admiting to being as guilty of this as everyone else. It shows how deeply rooted it is and unconciously the language is used. I was also a little suprised that everyone seemed to agree on how damaging it can be, by diminishing a word’s true meaning, and that it only seemed to be a new idea for a couple participants total between the two groups.

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INSIGHT 3: STIGMA IS KEY It was interesting to me that understanding of the stigma around mental illness was split perfectly between those who had experience with mental health issues and those who didn’t. The former being aware of the stigma and the latter not being aware. I don’t assumer this perfect divide to be the case for the general public but it was interesting to me and it gave me insight into why the stigms is so prevelent and there has been so little progress in destigmatizing mental illness. The importance of getting rid of the stigma isn’t knew to me but the conversations around it definitely reinforced that idea for me. This was a new idea for me. I had never thought about that difference before. It’s true that there is a big difference between telling people, getting help, and making it public knowledge.

because of the shame and embarassement; and that’s the stigma. Nobody is afraid to admit they broke their arm.” — Jackie When I asked the question: Is the stigma the main thing stopping teens from getting the help or treatment they need? Six responded “Yes”, one said “Probably”, and three said they didn’t know. The ones who said yes were the ones with direct experience. That 2/3 statistic only includes cases of depression that are reported. It does not account for unreported cases. It also does not factor in teens suffering from anxiety disorders.

“Getting treatment makes it real, and there’s no going back after that. You become someone with a mental health issue. But that’s only terrifying

“The biggest thing for me when I was still trying to hide my anxiety was realizing that I could control who knew, who I told. The fear comes from thinking everyone will know, and judge you. Figuring that out made everything easier.” — Allison


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THE PROBLEM AND GOAL

TARGET AUDIENCE

The central problem that I wish to address in this project is that teens with mental health issues are not getting the help they need. The number that receive no treatment at all is alarming and needs to be addressed. Suicide is now th esecond leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States, behind only fatal accidents such as car crashes. Suicide is the worst case scenario outcome of a teenager struggling with a mental health issue. Early detection, intervention, and preventative care is cruicial in the treatment of mental health issues.

The primary audience is the teens who themselves are dealing with, and likely trying to hide, a mental health issue. These are the teens at the center of the issue so they need to be at the center of my project. These are the teens who are not getting help and/or treatment, and are therefore the most at risk.

So the goal of my project would be to decrease the number of teens with mental health issues that are not receiving any, or adequate, treatment. This is something I can address through graphic design. The treatment itself is medical and not something that I can, or need to, get involved in.

A secondary audience for this project would be all other high school students. These individuals may not be suffering at this very moment, but early education on this topic could be the difference in them getting help or not if they ever do struggle with their own mental health.


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OPPORTUNITIES, STRATEGIES, AND DELIVERABLES

INFORM The first insight my research has lead me to is mental health education. Right now health education for teenagers in the US is entirely focused on physical health. They are taught nothing about the importance of maintaining their mental health, or how to do so. The national standards for mental health education do not even include anything on mental health. I have the opportunity to inform teenagers on the issue of mental health and design a campaign aimed at changing the national health education standards to include mental health education for teenagers. So how do I go about this. The first thing I must do is get teenagers informed on the issue of their own mental health. I can do this by changing the way health education works. As it is now teens are only taught about how to maintain physical health, and taught nothing about maintaining their mental health. This gap between the prioritazation of physical health over mental health is so large that the national health education standards do not even mention mental health. Not at all. To inform and educate I plan to design a book that makes all the information a teenager would need on mental illnesses like depression or anxiety redily available and easy to access as well as planner and journal tools to help them maintain good mental health practices. In adition to the educational materials I will design a campaign focused on actually changing the standards for health education to include mental health.


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NORMALIZE The third insight I plan to pursue is a chance to challenge the stigma around mental illness. This stigma causes intense shame and embarassment for those suffering, encouraging them to hide their struggles. For teenagers especially, the shame, embarassment, and fear, caused by this stigma is the primary reason they resist addressing their struggles and do not get the help they need. Currently there are campaigns to increase awareness of the issue of mental health, even some trying to increase awareness of the stigms, but nothing that is actually educatin people on what the stigma really is, the major effects it has, or trying to actually fight it and get rid of it so the issue can be addressed openly. I can use graphic design to destigmatize and normalize the issue of mental health. The third thing that needs to be done is getting rid of the stigma around mental illness. As long as this stigma is causing those struggling to feel ashamed, embarassed, and afraid to even acknowledge their own struggles, nothing with improve. Those struggling need to feel comfortable with their situation so they can begin to address it with whatever treatment they may need. The topic of mental illness needs to be normalized. My last deliverable be a marketing campaign focused on fighting the stigma around mental illness and normalizing the issue so the individuals struggling with their mental health do not resist addressing their struggles and can feel comfortable seeking whatever help they may need.


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ENGAGE The second insight I have uncovered in my research is that the dialogue around teen mental health, does not actually include the teenagers themselves. This is a big reason the dialogue is so ineffective. Teens do not currently have a voice in this dialogue and do not have a platform where a dialogue around mental health could take place. How can an effective dialogue take place without including those most effected by the issue? It can’t. I can use graphic design to give teenagers the platform they do not currently have so they can have a voice in this conversation. The second thing I need to do is engage the teenagers in the topic. They need to understand how invested they are in the issue, whether they are aware of it or not, and take control of it. They are the ones at the center of it , they have the most at stake, so they need to have a voice in the conversation. I plan to give them the outlet to create that voice. They need a platform. The most efficient way to engage teenagers is digitally, so my second deliverable will be a website and accompanying app. This will be the platform for teenagers to participate in a conversation around mental health, to express themselves without the fear of being judged or ridiculed. This digital platform will be the outlet they do not currently have. I imagine this to function like a digital version of something that existed at my high school that was just referred to as “The Wall”. The wall started as an empty hallway behind the auditorium. It was a narrow hallway with black white walls and the only thign it led to was back stage of the theatre. At

some point students started writing on the walls, painting on them, drawing on them, using the blank canvas to express things that they felt they had nowhere else to do so. It grew from there and by the time I was graduating the walls and ceiling were nearly covered. The wall allowed students to recognize that whatever they were dealing with was normal. They had nothing to be ashamed of and they were far from alone. I want to create a digital version of “The Wall”.


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VISUAL IDENTITY

31 Introduction 34 Keywords 36 Color Palette 38 Typography 40 Naming and Logo Development

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INTRODUCTION

The next stage in my thesis development foucsed on creating the visual identity for my organization. I started with a mind map of my topic and coming up with keywords to establish the tone and mood for the remaining project elements. The keywords were inspired by my topic, the audience I am targeting with this project, and various mediums relevant in some way to my project. Once the keywords had been established I moved on to naming the organization, designing the brand logo, choosing typography, and planning out the color palette for the MYND brand.


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MYND Thesis Process Book

This mind map exercise allowed me to think through as many topic connections as I could. It was a helpful way to kick-start the project.

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KEYWORDS HONEST

YOUNG

Addressing the issue of mental health, especially teenage mental health, requires complete honesty to make actual progress. Being realistic about what living with a mental illness means is crucial to treatment and recovery.

With a target audience ranging in age from 14-20 years old, the brand is going to need to feel youthful so actual young people will be drawn to and engage with the organization.


MYND Thesis Process Book

RELATABLE The brand messaging needs to be relatable for it to connect with our audience. This will guide language, tone, etc... Individuals who cannot connect themselves to the issue are not going to engage in any kind of dialogue or take an opportunity to educate themselves if they see a reason.

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COLOR PALETTE

The color pallette for MYND is fairly simple. In addition to black and white, the brand will use three colors. The primary color is bright, rich, green. This was an easy choice as bright, almost neon, green is the color commonly used to represent mental illness, in the same way pink is used for breast cancer. To compliment the primary green color I settled on a dark blue, as a high contrast secondary color, and a second, much lighter shade of, green, as a teriary color. Black and white will also have their place in the identity system, although true black will be used as sparingly as possible.


PRIMARY

SECONDARY

TERTIARY

#6FC16F R-111, G-193, B-111 C-59, M-0, Y-76, K-0

#1A1B30 R-26, G-27, B-48 C-87, M-82, Y-51, K-64

#D1F4CC R-209, G-244, B-204 C-18, M-0, Y-26, K-0

WHITE

#FFFFFF R-255, G-255, B-255 C-0, M-0, Y-0, K-0

BLACK

#000000 R-0, G-0, B-0 C-100, M-100, Y-100, K-100

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TYPOGRAPHY HAND-TYPE For this project I decided to use a combination of hand-type and sans serif. The hand-type I did myself, keeping it simple; it’s essentially just my handwriting. This is intended to bring a feeling of humanity and relatability. All hand-type will be headings or sub-headings. The sans serif will be used when type needs to be more functional or read in longer sections of copy. Anything that isn’t hand type will be the same sans-serif typeface, with some variations in size, weight, style, and color. To the right you can see examples of the hand-type used for select headings and quotes. There are multiple variations of the handwriting because in some materials the hand-type is showing a quote from a teen with a mental health issue. Having variations in both the quotes and the handwriting makes for more interesting visuals and more impactful content. On the next page you can see the various weights of Mr. Eaves I use. Mr. Eaves was chosen as the sans-serif face because of its character. It’s not quite “normal;” and the idea of embracing being “normal-ish” is a common thing among those living with, and those advocating for others with, mental illnesses. The other reason Mr. Eaves was chosen is because it can function both in print and digital mediums, allowing for consistency thoughout the project deliverables.


MYND Thesis Process Book

MR. EAVES XL MODERN Thin abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 0123456789 Book abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 0123456789 Book Italic abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 0123456789 Regular abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 0123456789 Bold abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 0123456789

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NAMING AND LOGO DEVELOPMENT

Keeping in mind my three keywords: Honest, Young, and Relatable, I began brainstorming naming concepts for my organization. First I did basic word association to get as many individual terms and words associated with my topic collected in one place. From there I started putting those words together in various combinations. At the same time I was starting to do some first rough sketching for the logotype. Doing this at the same time as trying to decide on a name made things a little tricky. The final name, MYND, is much shorter than a lot of my first naming options, so while I was working with longer names, I wasn’t able to push the logotype as far. Once I settled on the name MYND I was able to explore a wider variety of more interesting logotype options. I chose MYND for multiple reasons. First, as I already mentioned, it’s short, allowing more freedom to push the logotype. MYND is meant to represent “my mind” and empower teens to take control of their own mental health.

MYND is meant to represent “my mind” and empower teens to take control of their mental health.


MYND Thesis Process Book

Assorted identity sketches from MYND logo development process (all images)

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FINAL LOGOTYPE The final logotype is MYND in the form of a human brain, an obvious connection to the topic. However, the logotype was also heavily influenced by the music industry, more specifically by band logos and concert posters like those at the Fillmore. To the right are various versions of the logotype using the brand color palette.


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“WE” MAGAZINE

47 Introduction 48 The Content 50 Visual Development

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INTRODUCTION

“We� Magazine is designed to teach teenagers about the experience of living with mental health issues. Medical and scientific information on mental illnesses is readily available on the internet and my target audience is more than capable of finding that information on their own. Unfortunately that information, because of it’s clinical nature, is hard to relate to. What my audience likely will not be able to find on their own are real people living with mental health struggles, who are willing to talk about it. It is normal for those with mental illness to feel alone in their struggles. Hearing about those shared, relatable, experiences is crucial to understanding that help is out there, available and willing.


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VISUAL DEVELOPMENT

The visual development of the magazine was a little different than development of the overall brand identity. The magazine is branded as it’s own thing, although related to the overall visual style. It is the most intentionally young feeling deliverable. It is also print media for an audience that does almost everything digitally, so it has to be visually interesting enough to draw the audience to the medium.


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MAGAZINE CONTENT

The content of the magazine will primarily be the stories, written by young people, for young people, about living with mental health issues as a young person. Teens cannot relate to people in their thirties who struggle with mental health, they need to see it in a context relatable to their own lives. Other content in the magazine includes: a piece looking at the role of mental health in music, a small comic strip (these have shown to be an effective way to explain the experience of living with a mental illness), some data in the form of an infographic, and third party resources for those struggling.

One of the things that will be present in every issue of the magazine is the comic spread. These kinds of simply drawn and captions comics have actually proven to be an extremely effective tool in showing people what the experience of living with mental illness is like. People tend to have an easier time relating to this than data.


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Despite the comics being more easily relatable, presenting, at least some, data is still important. The data still contains valuable information that can help an individual manage their mental illness. Just knowing that one in five teenagers has a diagnosable mental health issue can help someone struggling not feel alone. When it comes to mental health there is no such thing as small victories.

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One of the central pieces in each issue is the “Mental Health in Music� piece. The example shown is an article written by a 20 year-old college student about how the music of Kid Cudi (Scott Mescudi) saved his life. Because this artist decided to use his music to tell true stories about his own life and how he himself lives with mental illness, this young man is alive today. Almost everyone lives music, so it is a very effective medium to tell stories like these. We aren’t writing the music, but talking about it gives our audience a familiar and comfortable avenue to relate to something more serious.


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The final spread of each story (not music article) contains a prompt. A question for the reader, relating to the story and their own mental health. The bulk of the spread is blank so the reader can write directly in the magazine.

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Left Top: an advertisement for a benefit concert for a youth mental health and guidance non-profit. Left Bottom: Resources spread

The last section of the magazine is reserved for advertising — all advertising will be directly related to mental health and/or our audience —and a final spread filled with third party resources.


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MYND SOCIAL APP

69 Introduction 70 User Control 71 A Safe Platform 72 User Testing 74 Functionality 76 Wireframing 84 Final Development

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INTRODUCTION

The MYND App is a social app designed to be a safe platform for my audience to engage in conversations about mental health, whether their own or more generally. The current conversation on the issue is had by adults rather than the individuals at the center of it. I want those being talked about to be the ones leading the conversation, but there has to be a space where that can happen. This app is designed to be that space. For teens and young adults, what is most beneficial for their mental health is going to vary from person to person. For some they will want a place to express themselves and vent, which they can do by posting to the wall. For others they wont want to post at all, just read the posts of others as a way to keep reminding themselves they are not alone and others are going through the same, or similar, experiences. Both of those are perfectly fine if that’s what helps the individual. Others may not use the wall to post or view. They may ignore that function completely and only engage in direct conversations. It’s possible they just have questions and would like to get some answers. The opposite is also possible. Some individuals may have gone through their own mental health issues, come out the other side, and want to help others who haven’t yet.


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USER CONTROL

One of the main issues when designing this app is the issue of anonymity. Individuals suffering from mental health issues, especially teenagers, are very protective of that information and careful who they share it with; if they share it with anyone. Because of this I have designed this app to give the user complete control over how much personal information, if any, is shared with other users. The only information required to sign up on the app is an email address and a first name. Beyond that, any information being shared is up the individual and can be added or removed at any time.


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A SAFE PLATFORM

Another key issue when designing an app that deals with mental health is keeping the users safe from any kind of harassment or bullying in the app. The first measure against this is making an account required to actually post or engage in any user-touser interaction. The app also uses a basic report function if a user comes across an inappropriate post or comment. In the hypothetical where this app is a real product, there would also be a team of people working on monitoring the content users are bringing into the app.


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USER TESTING

I did both interviews and user testing of digital prototypes (made in Adobe XD). What came out of that was a clearer plan on functionality, a user journey leading to the app itself (see right) as well as a more refined vision of the user journey within the app itself. These not only affected the design of the app but also the design of the brand website (MYMYND. org) as it relates to the app.


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FUNCTIONALITY

The app has two main functions. The first is what I call “The Wall.” It is a series of constantly updating and filterable user-gernerated content. This content is primarily visual, but also lends itself to type, usually in the form of quotes. This content would be closest to what one might find on a mental health Tumblr blog or Instagram account. The second function of the app is the discussions. This gies users three different kinds of interactions to participate in. The first is a simple one-on-one conversation with another user. The conversation will be started by one person with a specific topic or issue in mind they wish to talk about. That person will then be matched with someone also looking to talk about that topic. The second kind of conversation is the same as the first, but with a group. The third is a bit different. The third is a conversation with a “peer advisor.” This is another user that has gone through a kind of certification process. These users are well informed and reliable resurces for other users. A typical interaction between an average user and a peer advisor would likely start with the user having a question they want to ask.


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These are screens from the final version of the app representing the various functionality.

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WIREFRAMING

While wireframing the app in early development I made annotated versions to help plan out things like user flow and make it easier to identify elements that need to be either added or removed. This stage also included paper, and eventually digital, prototypes of the wireframed app to test both the app’s usability and it’s foundational structure.


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Through critiques and user testing I came to the conclusion that the green was too bright and dominant.

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FINAL DEVELOPMENT

The app has two main functions. The first is what I call “The Wall.” It is a series of constantly updating and filterable user-gernerated content. This content is primarily visual, but also lends itself to type, usually in the form of quotes. This content would be closest to what one might find on a mental health Tumblr blog or Instagram account. The app has two main functions. The first is what I call “The Wall.” It is a series of constantly updating and filterable user-gernerated content. This content is primarily visual, but also lends itself to type, usually in the form of quotes. This content would be closest to what one might find on a mental health Tumblr blog or Instagram account. The app has two main functions. The first is what I call “The Wall.” It is a series of constantly updating and filterable user-gernerated content. This content is primarily visual, but also lends itself to type, usually in the form of quotes. This content would be closest to what one might find on a mental health Tumblr blog or Instagram account.


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Visit MYNDThesis.com to experience the full digital prototype.

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These screens show the process of creating a post, and posting it, within the MYND App.

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The concept for the wall came from an actual wall at my high school. It started blank but was slowly filled with poetry, drawings, painting, quotes, questions, thoughts, or whatever else students felt a need to express, but may not want to do so in a more public setting. The wall functioned therapeutically for students.

These screens show the base wall function, the ability to filter with hashtags, as well as follow/delete those tags to better tailor content to the user.

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These screens show the conversation functionality of the app, one-on-one conversations with either another user or a Peer Advisor, or a conversation with a group. The tag functionality from the wall is also applicable to managing different conversations.


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ANTI-STIGMA CAMPAIGN

95 Introduction 100 Visual Concept

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INTRODUCTION

#StompOutStigma #TeachMentalHealth

The “Stomp Out Stigma” campaign is a social campaign to destigmatize and normalize the issue of mental health, with a focus on teenagers and young adults. The campaign takes the approach of being too big and too everywhere to ignore, which is how I, and MYND, view the issue of mental health. It is too big to ignore any longer. There have been numerous campains year after year pushing to increase awareness of mental health issues and how many people live with them every day. The problem is that as those campaigns do not actually foster any real understanding of the issue at hand. At this poing everyone knows depression is a thing, how much we know individually is still usually dependant on our own personal connection to the topic. If we have a friend or family member that lives with a mental health issue, we are going to know a lot more about it than someone without that person in their life. However, both of those people know they need to brush their teeth to avoid cavities, even if they’ve never had a cavity. We aren’t taught to talk about, think about, or maintain in any way, our mental health the way we are with our physical health. That’s a problem, because theu are equally important and each can affect the other.


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VISUAL CONCEPT

The visuals of the campaign come from ideas that came up very early on in the overall thesis project development. The first idea is that there is no face of mental illness. Those living with these issues become naturally trained actors of a sort. They learn to fake it, put on a smile and move through live like nothing is wrong, even when there is. This is the reason for not showing the faces of the individuals in the various materials. These people could be anyone, because conditions like depression and axiety disorders are that common. For the purpose fo the campaignt he colors of the images used were changed, and the MYND logo added within the person’s head, taking advantage of it’s form as a brain to draw immediate attention to the fact that that is what’s getting talked about, this young person’s mind, their brain.

There is no face of mental illness.


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A variety if images used in the campaign. All photos from Adobe Stock.


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The last element to be added to the campaign imagery is the quote. These are a collection of both real quotes, from early stages interviews, as well as some more commonly used sentiments among those with mental illnesses. I then re-wrote them all into a few variations of hand-writing, and attached names to the quotes. Some of these names are real names of interviewees, others are simply made up for the sake of variation within the campaign.

A selection of the quotes re-written in a small variety of handwriting styles, as well as some of the names used (and some that were not used).


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Big, bright, bold, and everywhere. The campaign should be unavoidable because that is what the issue is, big and everywhere. We just need to keep our eyes open for it.

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MYMYND.ORG BRAND WEBSITE

117 Introduction 118 First Explorations 126 Version 1.0 134 Final Website

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INTRODUCTION

The website for MYND (mymynd.org) is the home base for the organization. All other deliverables will have a presence of some kind on the website. But how will the website differentiate itself from those other deliverables? What will be included on the website that is not included anywhere else? The answer is the kind of information available. Where as We Magazine focuses on educating it’s readers on the experience of living with mental illness, the website will provide more medically focused information. For those who are struggling with their mental health, that content of the magazine won’t be enough to actually begin recovery. The medical information is neccessary for treatment and recovery, so I want to make sure they can get a lot of that information from a source they trus; that source being MYND.


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FIRST EXPLORATIONS

When I was starting my explorations into the website I was thinking the site would be much more robust than it ended up being. The reason for that is because a lot of the content I expected to include made more sense to be included in other deliverables. Some ended up in the magazine (personal stories), some to the app (wall), and what remained was the idea of a “home base” for the organization with some additional information and resources for our audience. This evolution of the website means that a lot of the paper prototypes and original wireframes look quite different from the final result.

PAPER PROTOTYPING WAS THE FIRST ACTUAL TEST OF THE WEBSITE’S INTENDED FUNCTIONALITY.


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All: Paper prototypes based on early wireframes with some pre-existing content plugged in.


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Some pages had slightly different versions. I used each different versions for multiple user testers, but not the same testers. This helped me figure out what was working, and what wasn’t, faster.


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All: an assortment of wireframes from the beginning of the website’s design process


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VERSION 1.0

This is the first version of the website I created. It uses an older visual system that has since evolved. These early stages of the website design process actually happened prior to designing the app. Once that app had been designed I returned to the website to apply the same visual language to the site at the app. This is one of the reasons that the website changed a bit more than other deliverables through their design processes.


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The original design of the home screen

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A few pages of onboarding/joining/sign up


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Profile pages from version 1.0

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From left: early about page, stories page, individual story layout

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The green and pink color palette was scrapped after user testing said it looked like a watermelon, not mental health.


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From left: learn page, mental hygiene exercise, the wall (this was a functionality that was moved to the app)

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FINAL WEBSITE

As mentioned previously, the design of the final version of the website was largly informed by the visual language of the mobile app. This final version contains pages for each of the other deliverables: MYND App, We Magazine, Stomp Out Stigma campaign. The site also contains well as a version of The Wall, from the app, that is viewable, but only through the app can someone actually create a post of their own. As previously mentioned it is the Get Informed section that is unique to the website.

Visit MYNDThesis.com or MYMYND.org to experience the full digital prototype.


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The two screens above show the sign up screens. There is functionality here (#tags) that relates to the app even though that functionality isn’t present on the website. The accounts cross over between the two so set up is done fully regardless of where you sign up first.

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The “Get Informed� section splits into three subsections: Anxiety Disorders, Depression, and Mental Hygiene. The anxiety and depression sections contain useful information and data relating to various specific disorders withing those categories (example: Panic Disorder is an anxiety disorder,


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Above: An example exercise that could be found under the Mental Hygiene sub-section of “Get Informed”

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From left to right: Depression main page, Bipolar Disorder page, Major Depressive Disorder v. Persistent Depressive Disorder (the two most common types of depression).

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From left to right: Anxiety Disorders main page, Panic Disorder page, Social Anxiety Disorder page. There are six different disorders with their own page.

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From left to right: Main page for We Magazine, story submission instructions to potentially get your story into an issue of We, the guidelines for those story submissions.

Each deliverable has its own space within the website.

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From left to right: the MYND App page, the “Stomp Out Stigma� Campaign page, and the Wall preview. This wall preview will show a collection of recent and popular content from the app, but full Wall functionality only exists in the MYND App.

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CONCLUSION

All of the deliverables laid out in this book can play a role in triggering the change that needs to occur for teenagers and young adults in the United States to get the help they need to support their own mental health. The “Stomp Out Stigma” campaign can force the issue to the forefront of people’s minds by being bigger, bright, and unavoidable in it’s physical presence in urban and suburban environments. This campaign can push the destigmatization and normalization of the topic forward. Stigma is the largest obstacle in front of someone living with a mental illness, it has to be dealt with. The magazine can spread actual understanding of what the experience of living with mental illness can be like. The only way to understand that life experience is to live it yourself, or listen to (or read) the story of someone who has. That’s it. There are only those two options; yet it’s crucially important to develop this understanding of the life experiences of those living with a mental illness. The MYND app serves as the hub for communication around the topic. That can take the form of social posts, private conversations, or solo observations of the posts of others. This is the safe platform for teenagers and young adults that is currently missing. These are the people at the center of the issue, living with the mental illnesses we are talking about, they shouldn’t just be participating in the conversation, they should be leading it.

Lastly is the MYMYND.org website. This is the home base for the entire organization of MYND. All other deliverables have a home on this site. What makes the website a crucial piece in the larger picture is the more detailed medical/scientific information that can be found on the site. This is information that is readily available elsewhere, but is neccessary for MYND to provide themselves, as a trustworthy source for the teens and yound adults that are served by the organization. These all fit together to make needed change. There are too many teenagers and young adults suffering alone with their mental health issues. We need to make change that gets rid of stigma, so people don’t feel like they have to hide. We need to make change so we all understand how nomal it really is to struggle with our mental health, whether that is once in a blue moon or every day. We need to make this change so people get the help they need. Why are these young people left to figure out mental health and mental illness for themselves?


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“I’m a manic depressive, passive aggressive, emotionally repressed / Introverted, extroverted, melancholic, alcoholic mess / I wish my inner thoughts were dinner conversation / I wished on every star and every constellation, mmm, yeah.” — “Manic” by Coleman Hell


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SOURCES Websites 16Personalities.com BringChange2Mind.org CPYU.org (Center for Parent Youth Understanding) HealthyPlace.com MentalHealthAmerica.net MentalHealthFirstAid.org NAMI.org (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Napolitano.house.gov/issues/hr-1109-mental-health-services-students-act/facts-mental-health-services-students-act OK2Talk.org PowerofPositivity.com TheMighty.com Books/Journals/Articles “An Evaluation of Participation in a schools-based youth mental health peer education training programme,” Aileen O’Reilly, James Barry, Marie-Louise Neary, Sabrina Lane, Lynsey O’Keeffe, Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, Vol. 9, March 2016 (Don’t) Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start the Conversation about Mental Health, various authors, edited by Kelly Jansen, 2018 “Why Youth Mental Health is so Important,” Stan Kutcher, Medscape Journal, Dec. 2008 “Anxiety & Depression: Why the Kids Are Not Alright,” Susanna Schrobsdorff, TIME Magazine, Oct. 2016 “Record Numbers of College Students are Seeking Treatment for Depression, but Schools can’t Keep Up,” Katie Reilly, TIME Magazine, March 2018 Individuals All Interviewees who requested their anonymity Alissa di Franco Denise Young


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