Yesterday saw the start of our new ‘Change By Design’ module. We were told the module was a ‘design sprint’, which translated as an extremely intense week of concept development, working in teams of designers. As you can imagine, it was a bit intimidating turning up on the Monday morning, having no clue as to what our brief would be, or how the week would pan out other than knowing it was going to be a fast paced, intensive week. However I am happy to report back that Monday was a huge success! The day started with an introduction to our brief; to design a product or service that helps to promote everyday mental wellbeing.

Caroline Adamson, Senior Counsellor/Clinical Lead at Dundee University, spoke to us about mental wellbeing. She emphasised how normal it is to feel anxiety and stress and that they can actually be quite positive and beneficial in the right circumstances. It was explained that these become an issue when they stop you from functioning normally in everyday life. Anxiety and stress can have physical symptoms like having sweaty palms, a racing heart, and a dry mouth. The physical symptoms can often worsen the issue as many people don’t realise these are normal causing their anxiety levels to increase.

After this we got split into teams and were given specific areas to focus on. My group has been told to look at education. The team kicked off with research to decide where our focus would be. We were all quick to decide that young children around the age of five would be the best group to target. At this age children are still happy to talk about their feelings openly and don’t have any preconceptions or stigma towards mental health issues. This would allow us to try and normalise the concept of mental health and mental wellbeing among children.

We managed to collect lots of relevant research throughout the day and will start day two by looking at some possible designs and hopefully develop a clear concept.