Falmouth University research project tackles stigma of mental health

A global collaborative research project – Communicating Mental Health – instigated by Graphic Design staff and psychiatrists from Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is exploring the stigma and scale of mental health.

The project, which has teams in China and Falmouth, has completed its first phase of work, investigating how design communication and storytelling can challenge the stigma of mental health issues. This centred on bringing shared insights from doctors, designers, carers and patients together using storytelling through film and UX design to deconstruct and challenge the language and insights that so stigmatises those facing and living with mental health issues.

Part of the project’s investigation unearthed the scale of the invisible epidemic facing the world, with mental healthcare spend and problems growing exponentially over the coming years.

Bryan Clark, Falmouth’s Head of Graphic Design and research lead, said: “This is an important project for us, addressing a truly global question through collaborative research, teaching and innovation. It also comes at an important time as we launch a new Masters course in Communication Design, which explores the emerging landscape of design for human need in the context of a rapidly changing world and how the global creative industries and individuals can respond.

“Cornwall too is on the map nationally with major new health funding from the Design Council coming to the South West. The project team aim to examine the opportunity of this news in the context of work undertaken to date and build on the great collaboration so far between design and science communities both in Cornwall and beyond.”

The last stage of work will see the integrated design solutions, campaigns and digital outputs shared with the project teams in Falmouth and China. Further testing will be run with doctors in Ghana, Ethiopia and Singapore for feedback to affirm potential impact and learning.

You can read the original news story on Falmouth University’s website here.