How can technology support mental health services? Where is there a lack of data?
This project explores whether creative interventions can have a positive impact on mental health issues – equal to, or even more than, traditional methods such as one-to-one counselling.
Who got involved?
As part of a six-month leadership programme at Knowle West Media Centre, called The Change Creators, 11 young adults aged 18-25 followed The Bristol Approach to develop a social change campaign, using citizen sensing practices, to identify an issue they cared about and gather relevant data to help them tackle it.
How did they sense the problem?
The group designed a creative campaign which they called: ‘it’s ok’. They believed creative interventions could have a positive impact on young people’s mental health – and perhaps be more effective than traditional methods such as one-to-one counselling.
Some of the questions they were keen to answer included:
Is it possible for sensors to measure changes in brain activity, identify mood or indicate positive feelings?
Could a wrist sensor measure pulse or changes in body temperature and indicate bodily changes related to feelings?
Is it possible to create sensors of any kind that can detect changes in mood or energy, such as when a person is feeling more positive or negative?
They visited various groups in Bristol to delve deeper into these issues
What was created?
The team set up their sensing booth in youth organisation Creative Youth Network in the Station, central Bristol. The team also toured the booth at the Festival of Ideas, at the Arnolfini. It’s Ok; team members engaged citizens predominately aged 16-24yrs to use the sensing booth.
The booth was designed to use facial recognition and video recording software. Participants viewed three shorts films, about mental issues, and were their facial reactions to what was heard on screen was monitored. Eg. If a person reacted and smiled, the booth would sense they are ‘happy’.
The three videos consisted of; a young person who had a positive experience of dealing with mental health issues through creative workshops. A mental health specialist explaining reason for diversifying the sector, and challenges as to why the sector currently isn’t diverse. A spoken word artist sharing her story and demonstrating dealing with mental health through spoken word.
The team also launched a series of postcards raising awareness about mental health issues, with a survey on the back to collect additional data from across the city.