“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.”
“The only thing more exhausting than having a mental illness is pretending like you don’t.”
“You say you’re ‘depressed’ – all I see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.”
First some facts around depression
Depression has always been with us. But lockdown, and the effects of the pandemic in general, dramatically raised its incidence. Around one in five (21%) adults aged 16 years and over in Great Britain experienced some form of depression an increase from 19% in November 2020.
Younger adults and women are on the front line. They are more likely to experience depression, with over 4 in 10 (43%) women aged 16 to 29 years experiencing depressive symptoms, compared with 26% of men of the same age.
As it stands, many people feel helpless and unable to find the support they require. Anti-depressants are the first form of intervention and their prescription has seen a dramatic increase. With ninety-two million more units of antidepressants dispensed from January to August 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.
So how can animation help as aprt of a multimodal intervention? Research suggests that while antidepressants may be beneficial in with dealing with the symptoms of depression, they fail address its origin. Psychotherapists say there’s no point treating depression as an illness or disease without taking into account its use as a psychological coping mechanism learnt during acute childhood experiences.
Animation can play several roles which are highlighted below. Primarily, animation is a relatable, creative way for anyone with a mobile phone to get front line support. The animation itself allows people to focus upon the psychological origins of depression, to gain a better understanding of the dynamics in play. And the end slate of the animation can serve to point people toward local services that can provide the support they so desperately require.
The only cost involved in this approach is that of the initial animation and the incidental cost of subsequent revisions. This makes animation eminently affordable e.g. for any local government authority, organisation or charity to produce.
Animation provides a safe space for us to explore and process depression and the reasons for it.
- Improves understanding
- Provides support and connection
- Is accessible
- Is easy to absorb
- Is non-judgemental
- Is non-threatening
- Provides practical information and advice
Benefits of animation
- Animation is accessible, especially via social media, and completely free to air for people who require it (via mobile phones).
- Animation can reach cohorts who struggle to read and write, eg those with a neurodivergence (20% of the population) and/or SEND (15% of the population).
- Animation can be translated to reach people for whom English is not the first language.
- Waiting times for CAMHS and community mental health services is typically months – from script to screen, an animation can be created in two weeks, making it ideal for ‘disaster’ work.
- Animation voiceovers can be quickly translated and revoiced in any language at a rough cost of only £1000.
- While the initial animation can cost about £10k, subsequent digital copies are completely free (unlike print). Small amendments to ‘end slates’ to, for example, localise helpline numbers cost very little, so one trauma video can be used 10,000 times nationally at pretty much no extra cost.
• Animation works brilliantly across all social media channels so it’s instantly and freely accessible and provides a ‘language’ for the person and their caregivers to understand what’s going on.
- Still images can be taken from the animation and used within other collateral. For example, a dozen still images can be laid out in front of a child, enabling them to choose which image from the animation spoke to them (a good way to introduce tricky subjects, eg sexual abuse).