‘What’s Hidden: Attitudes Towards Depression’ – Final Assignment

One in 16 young Australians are currently dealing with depression, and to say that depression can be a struggle at time is a huge understatement. Although it can be argued that depression and other mental illnesses are more widely accepted than ever before, many people are still largely uneducated about these mental illnesses, and at times they can be “swept under the rug” or romanticized as some sort of ‘cool’ accessory. Both Kate and Michael have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and they both have experienced being treated differently because of their mental illnesses.

It can be quite a terrifying thing to tell someone that you are struggling with depression, as many people are afraid of being judged or perceived as weak or vulnerable. However, talking to someone about what you’re going through can help to unburden yourself, ease isolation and build a support network. It is because of the stigma associated with depression that people are hesitant to ask for help or advice. Discrimination against people struggling with depression is not uncommon, and this is because of the lack of understanding that many people have in regards to mental illnesses.

“This has a negative impact on the quality of life of people with depression and anxiety, and their carers, affecting access to treatment, employment, housing, insurance and personal relationships. The stigma and discrimination associated with depression and anxiety may be worse than the illnesses themselves.” | beyondblue, 2012

The romanticization of depression has become extremely evident on various social media networks – particularly Tumblr – and this is extremely unfair to those who are actually coping with depression. This is then leading to many young people claiming depression without actually having it, and therefore “embracing this ‘beautiful sadness'”. Of course, the use of social media can be a significant tool in coping and seeking information or advice for someone struggling, but the constant romanticization of depression and photographs of various aspects of self harm can be extremely triggering to someone with a mental illness. Sarah Hartman suggests that the efforts to de-stigmatize mental illnesses have “gotten horrifically confused with a movement to romanticize them,” and this can be extremely problematic for many people.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that depression is more widely accepted than before and that there are now various ways that a person struggling with depression can seek and receive help, but it is still obvious that society needs to be more educated on the topic and find a way to de-stigmatize mental illnesses without romanticizing them along the way.

References for the video:

‘What Is Hidden’ – My Assignment Proposal

For weeks now I have struggled to come up with any ideas for the final assignment, and even now I am slightly unsure. Many of the ideas I have had so far seem quite far-fetched and unlikely for a mere Journalism student to complete. However, I have luckily had an idea that could very well work. I am hoping to investigate the change in society’s attitude towards depression, comparing societal attitudes of the 1980s/1990s to attitudes of 2014. Therefore, I am hoping to discover whether we, as a society, have become more supportive and more accepting of those suffering from depression in the past 30-40 years. For the talents, I will be using one of my close friends who has been diagnosed with depression in the past few years, and perhaps my mum who has lived with depression since her younger years. The music accompanying the assignment will be slow and perhaps a little dark in order to establish the mood of the assignment, and the ambient sounds will include doors closing, panicked breathing and perhaps the removal of anti-depressants from their packets. The videos will include the talents going about their everyday lives, whereas the original photographs will show the talents possibly hiding away in their bedrooms and isolating themselves from society. I will also be sourcing posters and videos from organizations aimed at supporting those with depression and including them in my assignment. As for the use of text, I will be presenting statistics and facts about depression, along with the stories of my talents. With this assignment, I am hoping to show how societal attitudes have changed in the last 30-40 years. I am quite excited about this assignment as I do enjoy using iMovie and such, and I am hoping to create something powerful and informative.

****** 26th of October 2014 – Edited my idea

After conducting my first interview and then also conducting a spontaneous one straight after, I have decided to slightly alter my topic and discover rather how society perceives depression now and how the symptoms can be “hidden” and such. For this topic, I have interviewed two of my close friends who are currently struggling with depression and anxiety. Instead of photographs showing the talents hiding in their bedrooms, I have decided to take happy photographs of them and then have them discussing their experiences with depression in a video, juxtaposing the two moods.

Journalists Who Inspire/Interest Me

1. Hannah Gale

Hannah Gale is a journalist and professional blogger, who currently writes for Metro.co.uk. Hannah uses her Twitter account (@Hannahfgale) to promote her blog posts and interact with her readers and followers, therefore establishing a relationship between herself and those who view her work. She also has a professional Facebook page, expanding her use of media outlets, and because she is a professional blogger, social media is a large part of her professional practice.

2. Julia Naughton

Julia Naughton is a Lifestyle Writer at Cosmpolitan Australia, who uses her Twitter account (@JuliaNaughton) to promote her work, interact with her readers and also promote the works of others, whether they are her colleagues or interesting blog posts she has found. Social media plays quite an important part in Julia’s career, as it is through her Twitter account that she is able to reach potential readers from all over the world.

3. Lisa Wilkinson

Lisa Wilkinson is a journalist and television presenter, and is currently a co-host of the breakfast show, Today. She uses her Twitter account (@Lisa_Wilkinson) to promote the segments on the Today show and also interact with the viewers. Social media plays a big part in the promotion of her segments on the show, and therefore is a large part of her professional practice.

Mid Session Recess Task 1

Out of the seven projects that I viewed for task one, my favourite was Firestorm, with my least favourite project being Tomato Can Blues.

“The apocalypse is happening in Dunalley…”

Produced by The Guardian, Firestorm is an award-winning interactive project which tells the story of a family’s escape from a brutal fire in Dunalley on the 4th of January. It takes the viewer on an emotional journey, as the family flees their home and loses the house that they built 25 years prior. Instead of having to click through various links in order to continue the story, the viewer is merely required to scroll through as quickly or as slowly as preferred, allowing for the viewer to fully take in and comprehend the events and facts that are being presented by the interactive project. As well as the family’s story, the project also presents the viewer with information on the nature of fire and how exactly fire can start, as well as how it can grow. The project uses a variety of emotional images, including photographs of the brutality of the fire and the children hiding from the fire under the jetty in the river, as well as voiceovers of Tim and Tammy describing their experience and also comments from other Dunalley locals. The voiceovers contribute to the reality and danger within the story, evoking a range of emotions inside the viewer. The project also uses text for the viewer to scroll through, and mainly the text is used for discussing facts about bush fires and the politics of rebuilding after the fire’s effects. This project is extremely relevant to Australian audiences, as bush fires are something that all Australians can be in danger of due to the climate and landscape of the country.

“…the fighters were ready, the ring girls were on time and the Bud Light was cold.”

My least favourite project was Tomato Can Blues by Mary Pilon, due to the fact that the project seemed to me more like a blog rather than an interactive project. Although the graphics were interesting and of high quality and the story was emotionally appealing, there was nothing really “interactive” about it, as the project did not include any videos, voiceovers or anything else multimedia-like.

Home.

In June 2007, Sarah Shaftoe embarked on a new life in Sydney, Australia with her husband and three children. Initially, Sarah found it difficult to deal with being so far from her family and friends who were back in the North of England, and claims that she will always feel a connection to the place in which she grew up. However, after living in Australia for seven years, she also perceives Australia as her home now, despite the times when she has regretted some of their decisions regarding where they chose to live in Australia.

‘Tears and Trust’ – Critique

My favourite ‘emotional histories’ piece was the ‘Tears and Trust’ story, due to the emotion that the story held. The piece included a healthy mixture of both emotional and humorous connotations, an example being the reference to the “birds and thr birds, and the bees and the bees”. The ambient sounds of the cutlery when discussing sitting down to dinner and the sounds of a school playground when discussing the bullying at school assisted in the telling of the story and allowed the listener to become more involved and a part of the story. The background music also enhanced both the tone and the mood of the story, and the closeness of the relationship between Zachary and his mother is also very evident. The story is told at a good pace; not too quickly and not too slowly, the edited very well. The story is very gripping as every piece of information is relevant to the story, and by the end of Zachary’s speech, the listener is able to feel a connection to both the subject and the situation.