How we took a simple approach to talk about mental health in our campaign.

We are all living in a busy busy world. We are all chasing our dreams and goals. The pace has accelerated. The competition has become obvious. Love has become hard to find. It’s no longer just a simple living. Yes, times have changed and a not so nice thing that this changing time has brought in has been the ‘Issue of Mental Health’.

As per the fact sheet of the World Health Organisation, globally, more than 264 million people suffer from depression. It has become an extremely common problem and the number is surely not a pleasant one to see. It is said that it has affected women more than men. Depression is not just normal sadness. We all go through low times. But depression makes people unproductive at work and agitated all the time. In worse cases it could also lead to addiction, drug abuse, harm to oneself and others and also extreme cases could lead to suicide. Surely not a great thing to hear! Depression also causes other health ailments like stomach disorders, poor digestive systems and disturbed sleep. It is extremely important to keep all this in check and fight it all.

As they say, everything has a good and a bad side. The same is the case with technology. On one hand technology and social media have changed the way business is done, it has made the world smaller and enhanced convenience, but on the other hand, it has also increased competition, comparison and made relationships more fragile. It doesn’t take long for people to leave love or to feel low seeing someone else rise. People feel sad when they see other people enjoy vacations, they compare their ‘likes’ on social media with others and sometimes social media is also exploited by floating information wrongly which puts a negative impact on people.

All this has really made life complex and many of us end up feeling low. Once someone gets caught up in this low-feeling, it could get difficult to step out. They get caught up in a vicious circle. The worse thing is that it puts them in such a sensitive place that even the family members or loved ones do not know how to handle the situation. Because mental health causes mood swings, the person going through a low in life, might appear totally normal, happy and cheerful most of the times and at times there might be uncontrollable anger. They might be adamant to accept what they are going through and might not want to get themselves treated. It is tough for them and everyone around them.

Taboo — No More!

A small breather for all this has been the fact that at least the problem has now been acknowledged and people are encouraged to come and talk about it. It is no longer a taboo. It is important to acknowledge that just like all other organs, our brain is also a part of our body and if there is any issue, it just has to be treated. There is no shame in accepting that you are going through a low in life and want to fight it. It is rather courageous and important to get life back on track rather than letting your beautiful life slip from your hands, just because you don’t want to admit to depression, thinking, ‘what will people say…!’

A great contribution in India towards spreading awareness about depression and mental health was done by actress Deepika Padukone, who was brave enough to step out in the open to accept that she went through a phase of depression but accepted it and fought it. Seeing a celebrity of her stature talk about this, gave a lot of encouragement to many people going through depression to fight the problem. It also made their family members support them better and do away with the taboo around it in the society. Further, in India, bollywood movies like Dear Zindagi came up and high profile actors like Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt got associated with it. This further eased out the subject and made it a comfortable to be discussed issue in households. It is just OK. Accept. Fight It and Move On.

We at Laughing Popcorn would be really humbled if a small step taken by us could further spread awareness about mental health and if we could think of small measures to help people keep depression at bay. After all, as designers, we talk about solving problems!

Taking this thought further, we designed the campaign called ‘Different Mornings’. What it stands for is the fact that if we could get into the habit of looking at the positive of every situation, try to keep calm no matter how hard times are and look at even the slightest of light that is there in a dark tunnel, it could go a long way in making life beautiful and fighting the sorrows that come along the way.

The idea behind the campaign was to get into the habit of starting the day on a positive note. Whatever thought comes to mind in the morning, just ensure that it sets your energy right for the day to follow. Most of us wake up to think about our schedule for the day or looking at our phones or something as simple as wanting a glass of water. Whatever be the thought, we wanted to associate a positive, lighter notion to it!

We designed this campaign to first start with asking our team to sketch out their ‘first morning thought’ for 15 days. It was put up on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter under the hashtag, #TheFirstThoughtChallenge. We then took the sketches and worked on the copy of every thought to portray the visual in a positive light. For example, someone sketched out a train as her travel to work everyday is long and is indeed a little stress for her every morning. We just changed the idea to ‘Long distance relationships can be exciting!’ It made her smile.

None of us can change certain circumstances of life. Life will throw good and bad, but if we could keep our minds focused on the goods, perhaps it could be worth it!

The look of the campaign was kept bold and vibrant to put the message out with a bang and make people fearless to conquer the issue! After all, we are trying to change the low-feelings and encourage people to feel more powerful!

Stress, anxiety, anger, rejection, loss….it is all a part and parcel of life. Let’s just try to look at it differently. Small steps could go a long way to bring a big change. Start with ‘Different Mornings’ and perhaps make a difference for the entire day and life….

Hoping to see a change, Laughing Popcorn

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