Due to the lack of equal treatment and stigmas associated with depression, many people in the minority populations of America are afraid or resistant to seek appropriate care. Together with two of my fellow designers, we created the Light On, Color Off call-to-action campaign to inform the public of the effects of depression and its existence as a mental illness, while also acknowledging cultural differences like language barriers and religious practices. By factoring in one's background, they can be confident that their specific needs are acknowledged and treatment for one's depression can be more accurately diagnosed.
In order to produce an effective campaign, we planned to directly reach out to students in the UC Davis community who are or have been depressed in order to construct as accurate a narrative as possible. By designing promotional products such as informational brochures and posters, we wanted to increase awareness of this largely underrepresented population. Through our endeavors, we hoped to bridge the gap between minority patients and their right to seek effective professional treatment in battling depression.
With only ten weeks to produce a campaign, we needed to work quickly and effectively together. Using online resources and the on-campus outreach centers, we wanted to gather primary resources to incorporate into our campaign material. Scholarly material and studies were able to provide the project with a statistical basis in which we could structure our campaign and questions. With advice and contacts exchange done with the UC Davis National Alliance on Mental Illness, Active Minds Group, and the Cross Cultural Center, we were able to establish a better understanding of the struggles that individuals of the minority faced when battling depression. Through the use of social networks and emails, we were able to provide a confidential survey for our minority depression demographic as well as find participants for our focus group session.
Based on the anonymous responses that we received from our online survey, minority individuals with depression were divided in regards to the effectiveness of treatment by a medical professional. In addition, many were/are hesitant in telling close friends and relatives about their depression, because they do not consider depression a serious health issue or they are afraid of being ostracized.
The most important factors that we learned were needed in the effective treatment for minority depression are cultural competence and inclusive systems. Cultural competence refers to the ability to empathize and acknowledge a person’s own ideologies, values, practices, and language. By practicing cultural competence, mental health service providers can better address the needs of depression within people of color. Our research was compiled in an informational brochure that was designed with photos of our focus group participants.
Our campaign incorporates various print media and graphics in order to publicize our mission and spread awareness. Our promotional items (t-shirt, stickers, buttons, tea infuser, medication container, business cards, brochure, letterhead, envelope) will be utilized in the Light On, Color Off campaign. Items will be distributed in focus groups, fundraisers, info booths, campaign meetings, and business transactions. Below are some examples of print collateral, environmental mockups, and interactive content that I designed for the Light On, Color Off visual identity and branding.