A thesis project that aims to dissolve stereotypes and stigmas involving schizophrenia.
– Received Curs grant award & Medici grant award.
– Presented thesis at the CURS Undergraduate Symposium.
‘Destigmatizing Schizophrenia ’, analyzes and makes seen the critical issues and stigmas brought on by the U.S’s societal views of the illness schizophrenia. This web experience and installation refocus those issues and stigmas into an empathizing experience for those who believe the illness to be taboo. The website mixes data (statistics and illness research) and interactive elements (two empathy-building challenges and a quiz section) in order to manufacture an all-encompassing platform that allows the viewer to grasp the effects that schizophrenia has on those diagnosed with the disorder.
As a designer, I have asked myself, what design strategies can create more empathy for people with schizophrenia? I explored the U.S’s societal relationships with mental illness by interviewing professors in the psychology department. Think of the last time media covered issues regarding schizophrenia; it was likely a news report covering violence committed by an individual with schizophrenia or a piece of horror entertainment where the villain suffered from terrifying delusions that drove them to violent crimes. This is the most cognitive normative group of people who will hear about these issues which have led to a dangerous lack of education and a culture of fear and avoidance. Schizophrenia is a disorder that can cause troubling sensations or hallucinations, trouble focusing, or thinking clearly, etc. The reality is that over 3.5 million American citizens suffer from this disorder.
Empathy is a critical ability that everyone needs to develop, without it we wouldn’t care to say ‘sorry’ when we bump into someone or care to comfort someone when they are grieving. Empathy builds our drive to make our world a more comfortable and habitable environment for everyone. While navigating through the web experience, a better understanding of their visual and auditory hallucinations will come. As the viewer immerses themselves in the many quizzes and empathy-building challenges, they will begin to sympathize with the real-life challenges that people with schizophrenia have on an average day. The goal is that people will recognize that those with schizophrenia are like everyone else except they have infinite strength.