It Matters is a campaign aimed to reduce the stigma of depression by raising awareness and encouraging students to look after their mental wellness. Designed in two stages to generate attention, educate, and promote mental health resources. Even though depression is a critical issue amongst college students, it hardly receives adequate attention. Students with mental health disorders seldom get the help they need. They may not know where to go for help, or they may worry about being judged if they seek mental health care. Originating but not limited to California State University, Long Beach students, this is a campaign where anyone can come to find that you are not alone.
The name of the campaign grew out of a discussion about why depression is a relevant diagnosis and the stigma that surrounds it, especially on college campuses. We came to the conclusion that no matter what a person is going through, no matter how big or how small, it matters. No matter how insignificant you think your issues or your life is, you matter. Stage 1: In order to generate attention, stage one consisted of designing "kindness cards" to pass around California State University, Long Beach campus. Each one of three different cards encompassed a positive message intended to brighten someone's day and to begin generating an all around positive environment (which we later found out through our hashtag #itmatters, spread all over Southern California).
Stage 2: After generating some buzz around campus with the kindness cards, we held an event to continue promoting mental well being. To prepare for this event, we first had to do some research. Instead of purely finding our research online, we collected anonymous submissions from students across campus, stating their worries and things that were generally weighing them down. Many students who participated admitted that even just writing down what was bothering them had already helped make them feel like they could get it off of their chest.
After collecting the data, we created cards listing out all of the stresses, worries, insecurities, and confessions. An infographic was also created, displaying information correlating mental health, depression, and college students. In the middle of the information reads "you are not alone", sending the message that depression may be a personal battle but you don't have to fight it alone. The anonymous cards were then used to cover the top of the entire infographic, covering up the information that would later be revealed.
On the day of the event, the giant concealed infographic poster was hung in a main hallway of campus. Any student was able to participate, and to do so their task was to find a card that they identified with and then remove it from the wall. What this aimed to do was to reinforce the idea that you are not alone, and that many people share your same concerns. What the students found after pulling off their card was not onlya gradual reveal of the infographic underneath, but an insightful and encouraging message on the back of each card. In addition, each card provided a temporary tattoo to show support for the cause, as well as information for on campus resources for anyone in need.
Created in collaboration with: Anna Ashkinadze, Ashleigh Bostic, Anna Hovhannisyan, Ellen Ju, Thao Le, Angela Li, Susan Lui, Erin Osborne, and Itzia Tapia