South West Creative Technology Network Mens Mental Health Project

Since February we’ve been working with South West Creative Technology Network to develop a mental health monitoring tool for older men.

Following on from Chloe’s Automation Fellowship and research into men aged 45-55 who have the highest rate of suicide in the UK as they’re least likely to seek help and wait for crisis point to get help.

We’ve assembled a team of artists, designers and creative technologists to develop some kind of tool that engages men to reflect and notice patterns in their mood that can help them to change for the positive. We started with a group of men who had engaged with Second Step’s Hope Project. We were able to host two workshops in person before the national lockdown.

Since then we’ve made several physical booklet prototypes that take the user through potential “set up screens” of what may become a web-based app. Exploring two main metaphors around growing a tree from an acorn, and being a leaf floating down a river.

We’ve chosen these abstractions as the group of men repeatedly spoke about how they found it easier to care for something or someone else than themselves and may be more invested in some kind of character. From the starting point of the weather, which relates to a lot of the lead artist Aidan Moesby‘s work, we’ve found metaphors that we can lay a WRAP plan framework over to be more engaging.

Still in lockdown, we’re just about to enter the more technical development stage and will be showing our outcomes at the SWCTN Showcase in October.