Kowloon Hospital’s Psychiatric department in Hong Kong invited our team of Environment, Advertisement, and Communication designers to spatially redesign their E.A.S.Y. (Early Assessment Service for Young People with Psychosis) clinic. The clinic also wanted to propose a campaign and tools that would help destigmatize mental illness and promote social integration for patients.
You Talk, I'll Listen is a wellbeing mobile app that provides a safe place for users to share and record their feelings.
Kowloon Hospital (E.A.S.Y clinic)
Hong Kong Polytechnic University
E.A.S.Y clinic's patients
User experience and interface design
Christie Chong (me)
You Talk, I'll Listen – Wellbeing Mobile Application
You Talk, I'll Listen (你說我聽) is aimed towards teenagers and young adults. Because we believe that it is important for all of us to be aware of our own mental health we did not design it to be only for the use of patients or those who have mental illness. The patients that we interviewed also did not want to be viewed as someone special or different, but only as someone who wanted to be listened to. Being understood and knowing that close friends and family care and are listening are important to all of us and not just those with mental illness. You Talk, I'll Listen provides a platform for users to record their feelings, a safe space to share their thoughts, and mood recording features that help them to be more cognizant of their mental health.
We wanted to game-ify the mood recording feature so the users would be consistent in recording but not see it as a burden.
Moods are constantly changing and our feelings are complex and can not be defined by one mood. So we decided to design an avatar that represents the user's mood that change in form and color as the user records their moods.
The mood character set helps the user visualize their moods as the characters merge in to the user's avatar.
Rewards like hats and shoes that the user can dress up their avatar will be unlocked after a certain number of recordings is another incentive for the users to be consistent in their recordings.
Along with mood recording, we also want the users to be aware of why they feel that way. It is helpful to look back to see if certain activities or events trigger certain emotions. From there, the users can understand themselves better as they can see what has prompted positive or negative moods.
The diary also allows for a wide range of expression. Instead of limiting the entries to just text, the users can also draw and attach photos and music that represent how they feel.
Privacy settings allow the user the freedom to choose if they want to share their thoughts and who they want to share them to.
The newsfeed allows the user to see and comment on other user's diary posts. You Talk, I'll Listen is meant for a smaller close knit community with people that the user trusts and can receive advice and encouragement from.
Calendar & Overview
The calendar allows the user to their mood change from day to day. They can also submit multiple entries in one day as moods can change throughout the day, the last inputted mood is recorded as the largest circle for that day. Color coding of the moods allows the user to understand their trends quickly as well.
The overview gives the users more numerical data and concrete trends about their mood entries. For patients, this data can be shared with doctors during their appointments so the doctors can quickly understand how the patient has been.
Since most of our team have not interacted with people suffering from psychosis, it was especially important for us to have a level of empathy and understanding for our patients and be aware of the stakeholders in this project.
- Family/friends of patients
- Doctors/staff at the clinic
- General Society, those who indirectly interact with the patients
Psychosis is a mental illness that is classified as conditions that causes difficulty in differentiating reality and imagination, with symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Psychosis primarily occurs in the teenagers and young adults, ranging from 15 to 25 years old. And although it’s mainly caused by a biological hormonal imbalance, onset can be due to stress, trauma, and drug use as well. Because of stigma and lack of education about mental illness, someone suffering from these symptoms may take an average of 1.5 years before going in for treatment. In Hong Kong, there are around 5 in 10,000 new cases for early psychosis every year, however this number doesn’t include those who do not seek help.
The clinic welcomed our team to a workshop hosted by the clinic psychologists and physicians to help us gain a greater insight of what a patient suffering from psychosis goes through and the treatment the clinic provides for them. The clinic staff gave us a talk and facilitated activities and role-playing to help us understand how patients, as well as people around them feel and react to the mental illness. We also shared personal experiences about mental illnesses we or family and friends have faced.
Takeaways from the workshop:
- Psychosis is best treated at early onset
- Family members and patients have a hard time accepting the illness
- Hong Kong has a very strong stigma against mental illness, mostly due to lack of education
- Importance of being a good listener and how to show empathy towards patients
Our team also had the chance to interview three patients that have recovered from psychosis to see how we can better fit their needs. It was really eyeopening to see that recovered patients are just like anybody. We asked them a variety of questions such as how their psychosis symptoms were like, how it affected their interactions with others, and how did they think the clinic space can be improved.
Takeaways from the interviews:
- Everyone experiences psychosis differently
- Will to recover comes from patient's mind first, then with the support of friends and family, and then with the help of doctors
- Major support comes from just listening and being there for the patient
- The clinic facilitates small group discussions that help patients reintegrate in to society
- Patients want to be treated like anyone else, don't want the illness to define them
Although the Environment design students would be in charge of the clinic's spatial redesign, it was eyeopening to see the context in which the patients come and visit the doctors. It also helped me better understand the flow for the patient's treatment. The Communication design team also looked for areas in the clinic where we could design a piece that would encourage community building between patients.
Wanted to design something that:
- Allowed the patients to share their thoughts and have a community that would care
- Involved convenient diary and mood recording anytime/anyplace
- A tool for the patients to be able to look back on prior experiences as a source or encouragement or advice
- Didn't add to the stigmatization of mental illness patients by calling them out as the sole users
We thought of a few ideas including a series of simple comics or motion graphics that would educate the public about mental illness and psychosis, but how to expose the public to this information proved to be a problem. We also thought of designing a physical journal with a paired app, but as we thought of the features, the less the physical journal seemed like a necessity. The E.A.S.Y clinic also had a strong interest in having a mobile app for their patients so from there we started to whiteboard and wireframe possible flows and features.