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Chosen Topic/Theme: Mental Health (Pitch)

Mental Health is defined as a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.

I chose this topic for my project because it is one that falls very close to home, I have also been inspired by the excessive amount of news stories and articles surrounding mental health and suicide in teenagers. An area I wish to cover in my work is the stigma surrounding mental health and people’s behaviour towards it. I have noticed through my own personal experience as well as things I have read about or discussed with others is that when someone is suffering with a mental health problems and are in need of help and support, it is often the case that people turn them away or invalidate their problems. However, once someone has been pushed over the edge and committed suicide people are quick to say how sad and effected they are by what has happened and how much it has affected them despite no attempt to help the person when they were suffering. I have also found that many people seem to be under the impression that teenagers or children cannot suffer from mental health problems despite the fact that statistically 1 in 10 children and young people are affected by mental health problems.

I plan on conducting both primary and secondary as well as qualitative and quantitative research. To research my project I plan on extensively gathering information from as many sources as possible to make sure that I am well informed before I move onto the production portion of this project. I will be gathering the majority of my research from the internet as I will be able to ascertain the most information this way. I also plan on looking through various books specifically ones that are psychology and sociology related as they will be the most likely to contain information relevant to my chosen topic. I also plan on conducting research first had by making surveys and questionnaires for people to fill out and I would also like to personally interview people about their experiences related to this topic. When it comes to my primary research I am concerned about peoples anonymity, as this is a very personal subject I want people to be able to open up to me and answer honesty without feeling over exposed. This is why I will most likely take the Vox Pop interview method out of the equation and instead devise a more private method of gathering information.

As part of this project we have to present our final products in two different formats. It is my intention to present one of my final products as a written piece as this is my strongest area. This will also provide me with a wide format with which to express my ideas and concerns regarding mental health and the issues that surround that topic. I would also like the second part of my project to have a visual component, as I believe that this will allow people to better empathise with my chosen topic if they can see something that they relate to. I think given the time frame of this project that it would be better for me to produce a picture as apposed to a video. This will make the final product a great deal more subjective than a video so I will need to make sure I am clear with what I intend to make. Although having something that is open to interpretation could work well considering my topic as there is such a wide variety of mental health issues and they affect everyone differently. So one person might take my picture one way and someone else another.

I pitched my initial ideas to Greg and the class and received lots of useful feedback. They agreed that presenting one of my final products as a written piece was a good idea as it is my strong-suit and will give me a wide range in which to express my views. They also suggested that a news article would be a good route to take as it would allow me to express the seriousness of the topic at hand and also allow me to parallel other articles on the subject. This will also allow me to easily incorporate various facts and figures without them feeling out of place. I have decided to have my piece be in the style of an online article as apposed to a newspaper or magazine article as online articles are more easily accessible as well as more relatable to younger generations. I frequently see online articles being shared on sites like Facebook regarding mental health. These articles can then be shared and reacted to by thousands of people in mere moments and it is this kind of accessibility and audience that I am aiming my project at. I also discussed my ideas about producing a photo with the class and received feedback regarding that as well. I am torn between two different ideas; my first ideas is to have a picture of a person wearing a mask of their face looking happy but because the mask is slightly pulled away you can see their real expression underneath symbolising the emotions we hide from others and that we all have to put on mask to be see as normal and to be accepted when in reality some people are suffering. My second idea is to have a picture split down the middle and on one side the person looks happy and on the other side the person looks sad. This ideas follows the same premise as the other photo but would probably be much simpler to produce. Due to the time frame I don’t want to give myself too much work that I can’t complete. After discussing this with my peers they agreed that the second option would be easier to accomplish in the time frame as it wouldn’t require as much editing. They also suggested that I attempt to make two photos and try my first idea in one photo and the second idea for the other. The class and the various tutors I pitched my project to all agreed lots could be done with the topic I have chose and that it is a subject that needs to be addressed.



Mental Health Mind Map:mental-health-mind-map

This is a mind map I made to help me express my ideas for my project. Laying it out like this really helped me organise some of the aspects of mental health that I would like to cover in this project.

primary Research:

I asked 20 people from ages ranging from 17-95 some questions about mental health.

this is the list of questions I asked people:

  • Do you know anyone who has experienced any mental health issues?
  • Have you ever experienced mental health issues?
  • Have you ever supported someone through a mental health issue?
  • Would you support someone through a mental health issue?
  • Do you feel that there is enough support systems in place to help people suffering with a mental health issues?
  • Have you or anyone you know experienced or witnessed stigma surrounding mental health?

This is a table showing my results:


This is a Graph displaying my results:


To help me decide on what questions I should be asking to achieve the best results I drafted my ideas and asked for peer feedback regarding the matter. This feedback helped me to determine the number of questions I should ask, not too many so I didn’t overwhelm those taking my questionnaire and not to few so I didn’t get enough information. The peer feedback also helped me to word the questions that I wanted to ask properly so that I could achieve the best results.

The results of my questionnaire differed slightly from what I would have suspected. When I asked 20 people if they had know anyone that had experienced any mental health issues 18 said yes, and then when asked if they would support someone suffering through a mental health issue 19 said yes. I didn’t expect quite so many people to say that they would help but found myself pleasantly surprised, that is until I asked If they had supported someone going through a mental health issue. Now judging by the fact that so many said that they would jump at the chance to help I wasn’t expecting the result that I got. When asked if they had supported someone only 4 said yes, only 4 out of 20, despite the fact that 19 said they would if they knew and 18 said they did know. These results are supported by a great deal of my secondary research. When looking up news articles surrounding mental health in the UK typically surrounding teenagers I found a very similar stance when it came to mental health; people think that something needs to be done, but aren’t willing to actually help. Unfortunately actions speak louder than words.

I have displayed my findings from the questionnaire in the table and graph pictured above. I wanted the results to be easy to read and understand and I think I have achieved that.

Thoughts and Feelings:

Contributing to my primary research, I interviewed various people about what they thought when it comes to mental health. I wanted to understand their personal thoughts and feelings regarding the topic to give me further insight into my project and what I want to achieve. I decided to present my findings in this slideshow with each image having a colourful background as I was inspired by a social network called The Whisper App. The function of this app is for people to anonymously confess things as well as find support regarding their troubles. The anonymous posts a formatted as pictures or colourful backgrounds with the persons issue written on them. I wanted to take this approach when presenting my finding as I often see many whisper app posts about Mental Health shared onto Facebook, and as I was anonymously collecting peoples thoughts and feelings I felt it only fitting to present it in a similar way to what had originally inspired me. I also thought this method of collecting research and information was more suitable and less invasive than using vox pop style interviews, that way it would be easier for people to open up and simpler to maintain my interviewees anonymity.

Whisper App Examples:

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Some of what I was told when conducting my research was honestly difficult to hear. Some people shared sentiments that I agree with in regards to mental health in general, but others preferred to divulge much more personal stories of things that they had experienced in their lives, for example the stigma they had faced or insight into a mental illness that they had suffered with. I felt very grateful that they were telling me about such emotional and powerful experienced to use as research for my project. Even though I thought it was best to keep it all anonymous to protect everyone’s identities I still felt honoured that they trusted me enough to let me use their stories as a part of my research. Hearing what everyone had gone through was a great insight into what so many people deal with every day and I was pleased to know that many of my thoughts and feelings regarding mental health where shared by nearly everyone I had interviewed. Hearing each story only served to inspire me more to create a final product that really spoke to how everyone was feeling.

An interesting point that I was able to take away from my interviews is that schools seem to be an area where vast improvements need to be made in regards to mental health. Some of the stories people had told me about their experiences facing stigma and other issues had take place at school, and some people had some ideas of what could be done to improve things. It was both interesting and insightful to ear what people had to say and there were definitely some key points that I would like to include in my article.

Secondary Research:

Facts and Figures from the Samaritans Suicide Statistics Report 2016:

  • There were 6,581 suicides in the UK and Republic of Ireland, in 2014.
  • In 2014, 6,122 suicides were registered in the UK. This corresponds to a suicide rate of 10.8 per 100,000 people (16.8 per 100,000 for men and 5.2 per 100,000 for women).
  • The highest suicide rate in the UK in 2014 was for men aged 45-49 at 26.5 per 100,000.
  • The male suicide rate decreased in the UK (by 5.6%), England (by less than 1%), Wales (by 37.6%), Scotland (by 17.6%), Northern Ireland (by 10.2%) and Republic of Ireland (by 6.4%) between 2013 and 2014.
  • Female suicide rates increased in the UK (by 8.3%), England (by 14%), Scotland (by 7.8%) and Republic of Ireland (by 14.7%) between 2013 and 2014. Female suicide rates decreased in Wales (by 38.2%) and Northern Ireland (by 17.7%).
  • The female suicide rate in England is at its highest since 2005.
  • The female suicide rate in the UK is at its highest since 2011.

Statistics and risk factors about young adults with mental health problems.

  • 2.2% of 16-24 year olds in Great Britain experienced a depressive episode.
  • 4.7% of 16-24 year olds screen positive for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • 16.4% of 16-24 year olds experienced neurotic symptoms.
  • 0.2% of 16-24 year olds have a psychotic disorder.
  • 1.9% of 16-24 year olds have a diagnosed personality disorder.
  • 3.6 of 16-24 year olds have a generalised anxiety disorder.
  • 2.3% of 16-24 year olds have an obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • 6.2% of 16-24 year olds have attempted suicide in their lifetime.
  • 8.9% of 16-24 year olds have self-harmed in their lifetime.
  • In 2011, 194 15-19 year olds and 427 20-24 year olds committed suicide.
Further information can be found on the websites via the links.

News Articles:

Mental illness in the media

Portrayal of mental illness in the media, TV and newspapers

Portrayal of mental illness in TV soaps and Dramas

How suicide affects others

Target Audience:

I used a website called YouGov to gather demographic information that pertains to my research. I was able to gather information on who is interested in various different mental health organisations and causes, to give me an idea who my project would be more appealing to.

Mental Health Foundation:

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 40-54
  • Region: London
  • Political affiliation: Left Wing
  • Monthly spare income: Less than £125
  • Profession: Community and social care
  • Time Spent Online: 31-35 hours a week
  • Time Spent watching TV: 31-35 hours a week
  • Newspaper: The Mirror
  • Magazine: TV Choice

Action Mental Health:

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 25-39
  • Region: The West Country
  • Political affiliation: Left Wing
  • Monthly spare income: £125-£499
  • Profession: Entertainment
  • Time Spent Online: 50+ hours a week
  • Time Spent watching TV: 1-5 hours a week
  • Newspaper: The Sun
  • Magazine: Total Guitar

Action on Depression:

  • Gender: Female 
  • Age: 55+
  • Region: London
  • Political affiliation: Left Wing
  • Monthly spare income: Less Than £125
  • Profession: Law
  • Time Spent Online: 26-30 hours week
  • Time Spent watching TV: 41-45 hours a week
  • Newspaper: The Guardian
  • Magazine: Web User

Mind (Mental Health Organisation):

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 25-39
  • Region: North West
  • Political affiliation: Left Wing
  • Monthly spare income: Less than £125
  • Profession: Civil Social and Charity 
  • Time Spent Online: 36-40 hours a week
  • Time Spent watching TV: 26-30 hours a week
  • Newspaper: The Guardian 
  • Magazine: HELLO! Magazine

Rethink (Mental Health Organisation):

  • Gender: Female
  • Age: 25-39
  • Region:  London
  • Political affiliation: Left Wing
  • Monthly spare income: £1000+
  • Profession: Community and social care
  • Time Spent Online: 31-35 hours a week
  • Time Spent watching TV: 46-50 hours a week
  • Newspaper: The Times
  • Magazine: Take A Break
Further information about these specific demographics can be found through the highlighted links.

The various profiles I looked at on YouGov have helped me to narrow down the specific demographic that I should target for my projects audience. Although the demographic profiles I researched did not have completely unanimous results they did have some similarities. For example out of the five different demographic topics that I researched 3 had an age range of 25 – 39, and the newspaper of choice for 2 of them was The Guardian. Because of this I researched various Guardian articles focusing on mental health to give me inspiration for my own article.

Industry Examples

These are the industry examples of print articles that I found. I drew inspiration from these particular articles because the are from the guardian which was a news source which that appeared more than once during my target audience research. I thought that if people who are interested in mental health are reading articles from the guardian then it would be best to research articles they have done on mental health. I found these articles very informative and helpful in influencing how I formatted my own article, as I wanted my own work to be presented in a similar style so it would be more appealing to my target audience.



These are the industry examples of posters I found depicting mental health issues and depression. I chose then as my industry examples as they are similar to what I want to create within my own work. My idea is to have a poster that depicts a persons face with one side happy and one side sad. These examples, although similar to each other have all taken a different approach to this idea, they each present two sides to a persons face and allude to the fact that people were metaphorical masks to hide how we really feel. This is what I want to capture with my own images.




Harvard References and Bibliography

Suicide: Facts and figures. Available at: http://www.samaritans.org/about-us/our-research/facts-and-figures-about-suicide (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Burstow, P. (no date) Mental health needs good deeds more than good speeches. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2017/jan/17/mental-health-good-deeds-good-speeches-resources (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

YoungMinds (no date) Young adults statistics – mental health statistics. Available at: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/training_services/policy/useful_statistic/young_adults_statistics (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Jehring, A. and kitching, C. (2016) Teen killed himself after sick bullies created fake Jimmy Savile Facebook page. Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/teen-killed-himself-after-bullies-9256657 (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Turton, P. (2016) Home. Available at: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/684139/Teenager-commits-suicide-six-year-battle-anorexia (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Sacks-Jones, K. (2016) Suicide: There’s a serious problem with Britain’s girls. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/health/suicide-theres-a-serious-problem-with-britains-girls/ (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Forster, K. (2000) Local authorities ’spend close to nothing on mental health’. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/local-authorities-mental-health-mind-less-than-one-per-cent-budget-public-a7461806.html (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Lamb, N. (2016) The government is breaking promises on child mental health. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2016/dec/07/government-breaking-promises-child-mental-health (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

CturnerHerald (2016) Charity reveals ’shocking’ spend on public mental health. Available at: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/charity-reveals-8216-shocking-8217-spend-on-public-mental-health/story-29964437-detail/story.html (Accessed: 21 December 2016).

Allen, V. (2016) Local authorities spend next to nothing on mental health services. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4011924/Local-authorities-England-spend-one-cent-public-health-budget-mental-health-according-new-data.html (Accessed: 21 December 2016).

BBC (2016) Young women at ‘highest mental health risk’. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-37504679 (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Available at: http://youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y97VF5UJcc&w=560&h=315 (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Available at: http://youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aieGAaYR1T8&w=560&h=315 (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Mindframe (2014) Available at: http://www.mindframe-media.info/for-media/reporting-mental-illness/evidence-and-research/evidence-about-mental-illness-in-the-media (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Change, T.T. (2016) Media TV and newspapers. Available at: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/category/blog/media-tv-and-newspapers (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Change, T.T. (2016) Soaps & dramas. Available at: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/media-centre/media-advisory-service/soaps-dramas (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

How suicide affects others (2017) Available at: http://uk-sobs.org.uk/suicide-bereavement/how-suicide-can-affect-you/how-suicide-affects-others/ (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

YouGov profiles LITE (no date) Available at: https://yougov.co.uk/profileslite#/Mental_Health_Foundation/lifestyle (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

YouGov profiles LITE (no date) Available at: https://yougov.co.uk/profileslite#/Action_Mental_Health/demographics (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

YouGov profiles LITE (no date) Available at: https://yougov.co.uk/profileslite#/Action_on_Depression/lifestyle (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

YouGov profiles LITE (no date) Available at: https://yougov.co.uk/profileslite#/Mind_(Not_for_profit)/demographics (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

YouGov profiles LITE (no date) Available at: https://yougov.co.uk/profileslite#/Rethink/demographics (Accessed: 25 November 2016).

Gayle, D. and Johnston, C. (2016) Number of suicides in England and wales reaches 20-year high. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/may/12/number-of-suicides-in-england-and-wales-last-year-reaches-20-year-high (Accessed: 25 November 2016).