During the 2016-2017 academic year, 4,908 out of 43,820 UW Madison students sought help from University Health Services for mental illness, which led to a 2.2 increase of client visits. The growing number of students struggling with mental health inspired The Translation Project, a visual campaign focusing on creating a dialogue about mental illness and mental health on campus.
The Translation Project started in DS 501, a Design Thinking class taught by Lesley Sager. After noticing many classmates and friends struggle with mental health, UW-Madison seniors Bailey Bowe, Miah Gatzke and Katelyn Silasiri used class time to promote positive changes dealing with mental health on campus. In order to finish their initiative they took on, they went on to take DS 699, an independent studies course. Throughout the months, the project took on many forms until they finally decided on a collaborative visual campaign (video below) where different students suffering from mental illness translated their thoughts and feelings visually.
Our goal was to create a collaborative video involving the students of UW-Madison, and use it to spread awareness on mental health and mental illness. We hoped to create a piece of art reflecting the feelings and emotions of someone struggling with mental illness, translating those feelings and emotions into visual expression. We wanted to portray what is normally impossible for others to understand.—Bailey Bowe, Miah Gatzke, and Katelyn Silasiri
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