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Could self-care be the answer to improving the mental health of the nation?

07 Aug 2019 · 2 min read

In July we invited creatives and specialists to AmazeRealise for our annual Creative Hack day. This year the focus was on mental health.

At AmazeRealise, we’re always trying to do work that matters and aligns with our values. Recently we’ve been focusing on mental health issues and how we can help our people better cope with the stresses of everyday life.

We wanted a way of making a difference in this area on a wider canvas.

That’s why we partnered with Mental Health First Aid England, and a team of some of the industry’s best creative and compassionate minds, to help try and tackle some key issues.

The big hack

The idea was to use the Hackathon format as a way of coming up with fresh thinking that could help our social enterprise partner reach out to more people.

In a ‘Sprint-style’ session, the team tackled a brief set by the team at MHFA England. The question asked was ‘How can we transform the public’s understanding of self-care? What exactly is it? What does it mean? Why is it important for the brain (particularly in the context of digital) And why it’s important, whoever you are?

Public misconception of the term ‘self-care’ and the rise in companies and influencers hijacking the term, it has left it at risk of getting pigeonholed into an elitist practice only suitable for the Lululemon wearing, goji berry guzzling, matcha tea sipping, middle-class.

Self-care is in fact the umbrella term cradling all of the little things that you can do to look after your mental health - from reading a book, making your favourite dinner, taking the dog for a walk or turning off your phone for 30 minutes a day.

If we want to help improve the mental health of the nation, we’ve got to widen the net and change public perceptions.

We love a bit of research, so in prep, we surveyed a number of digital and creative workplaces to help inform the session, asking people about their own experiences with mental health and their relationship with ‘self-care’.

Meeting the challenges

Our team set to work on unlocking ideas that could start to make a difference to people's lives.

The day unearthed some common themes about the challenges of “self-care” and the public's understanding of what it means. This included:

  • Gender (“self-care” sounds traditionally feminine)
  • Class (it also sounds a bit posh)
  • Lack of understanding of neuropsychology (why we need to give our brain a rest etc)
  • Shifts in digital (we are ‘always on’ much more of the time)

Ideas created by the team were designed to make mental health feel everyday and for everyone rather than the domain of activists or the privileged. Suggestions addressed how to make the subject appealing, realistic and manageable as well as transformative.

It was a privilege to spend the day with a group of creative brains focusing on self care. The combination of their scrutiny on the concept, data insights and practical creative ideas was a gift which we have taken away and will use to inform our future work on this topic. If we can increase understanding of self care and motivate people to practise it, we can make a massive difference to the mental health of the nation.

— Simon Blake, Chief Executive MHFA England

The end result was that MHFA England went home with a large pile of creative and practical ideas to chew over. We can’t change things overnight but when great minds get together we can certainly start making a difference.

 

Find out more about how AmazeRealise is always looking to address human issues in our work. Get in touch using the form below.

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