What is this project all about?
Mental illnesses are one of the most widespread disabilities
worldwide. In Germany alone, 4 million people are affected by
issues like anxiety or depression. Yet, it’s a secret we all
share. Seeking help for psychological struggles is still strongly
associated with shame. Even being sad or stressed or unproductive
is seen as personal weakness. As a result, many people find it
difficult to talk about emotional problems – be it a missed
project deadline, a loss in the family or an eating disorder.
It’s easier to open up to someone who has similar problems and can empathize. But how to identify the people that can offer support when everyone tries to hide their struggles? Most people that are in emotional distress don’t decide to seek help until they have been in increasing pain for a prolonged amount of time. Only about 35% of people suffering from depression are receiving treatment. On average, 11 months have passed before even these few seek out professional help.
The ShitShow is one approach of addressing this pressing situation.
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
Ultimately, The ShitShow is trying to enable more open
conversation about a topic that has been neglected for too long.
Communication is the key to providing good support for those
suffering from mental distress and to prevent problems from
growing. It is also necessary to build resilience towards
Young adults are particularly affected by this issue. As many leave the familiar framework of home and school, they have to find alternative support structures. New living situations, starting university or a job, all these developments entail a multitude of mental pressures. In a time where social media is so influential, standards of self-representation are an added factor.
Opening up is the first step to get some relief. However, when we share our feelings, we are vulnerable, exposed. Oftentimes, the recipient is simply not equipped to respond in a considerate, empathic way.
The ShitShow wants to challenge the current attitude towards psychological care. We want to make it clear that feeling shitty is nothing to be ashamed of, but actually a very common thing. We also want to make the impact of these feelings understandable, so that more people can offer informed, helpful peer support. When this happens, the threshold of reaching out is lowered, which in return allows problems to be addressed before they develop into serious mental conditions.
Why would you support this project?
Supporting The ShitShow means promoting an alternative idea for tackling the problem of mental health. It means to engage in a dialogue that is important not only for the young target group of the show, but also for everyone who is interested in a resilient, healthy society. While there is a great spectrum of available options for help, it’s difficult to get an overview what is out there. Misconceptions about conditions and treatments are widespread. There have been a number of great mental health projects, but as long as we don’t make the topic more present in the everyday life, the situation will continue to worsen. The ShitShow is an attempt to prevent just that, in a non-stigmatizing, non-patronizing way.
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
The funding money for The ShitShow will be used in different
ways and on various project elements. The main part is the set-up
of an exhibition which will be initially presented in the
University of Arts in Berlin and at different sites and events in
At the exhibition area, simulation objects designed based on the concept of embodiment theory will enable the visitors of The ShitShow to understand how mental health problems as depression, anxiety or loneliness can feel like. Part of the crowdfunding money will go towards the material and labour costs of producing these pieces and the other elements of the exhibition like infographics, a website and cool little souvenirs.
These giveaways will also be handed out to the university freshmen, pupils and young employees at events like Open Days or Welcome fairs. They will be included within “university first aid kits” that enable the recipients to find help and information when needed.
Who are the people behind the project?
The people behind The ShitShow are Nele, Pauline, Omri and Luisa. We are an interdisciplinary team of design and communications students from the University of Arts Berlin. Motivated by our own experiences with the pressures of university life and shortcomings of the available support systems, we developed concept for The ShitShow during our semester project ‘Hacking Utopia’ (http://hackingutopia.cre8tives.org/about/)