I have always been very open about my mental health. From a young age, I struggled with confidence, bullying, and sadly, self-harm. I strongly believe though that this greatly contributed to the empathetic and emotionally supportive person I am today.
I figured I would put my creativity to good use to create a sticker that represented how I feel about my work and something that I am close to - what better theme than mental health.
Getting inspiration from Twitter
Whilst perusing Twitter I noticed a conversation between some civil servants about mental health and that how do people help others that might be struggling.
One senior civil servant commented that they seek out people that they can help, as by doing so it helps them feel better.
Initially, I offered to help someone (oh the irony!) who wanted to design some stickers around that mantra of helping others.
I had a few conversations about what they wanted the design to feel like and we discussed font and imagery and messaging. The standard 'client' and designer back and forth that happens in a design brief.
Unfortunately due to busy schedules the sticker design process fell flat and lost momentum.
Until I started at the MoJ...
I've always been obsessed with a good sticker and in December 2019, shortly after joining the MOJ I felt inspired to have another crack at what I’d started.
I've spent the best part of my 17 year career working in the public sector. Often, working in the public sector is seen as less exciting work, fewer benefits - an inferior environment to the private sector.
However. We help others get things done that they need to, often in difficult times. I'm not saying we are superheroes, but...well...yeah I kind of am.
I used this idea of superheroes to create some new designs based on well-known superhero characters and pairing them with the phrase borrowed from the SCS on Twitter...
Find someone you can help
I created a bulk of designs for quite a few of the well-known superhero characters and had them printed by a company who created some wonderful quality stickers.
I wanted to give these to people - not just any people - those who genuinely have a desire to want to help people, that might go some way to helping themselves.
I sent quite a few around the MoJ Mental Health community group - have sent some to the civil servant who established the saying. But most recently I gave one to a best friend who has always been a bit of a rock to me in the past.
It doesn't matter where people put these stickers, the fact that people can take such a simple message and use it to potentially turn someone's day into a positive is truly a marvel* of human nature and compassion.
* (the pun wasn't intended but at 3am writing this maybe it was)
Oh, but there's a sequel!
Amanda Smith, our Head of User Centred Policy Design at the MoJ, who is an absolute hero in our community, said to me that they would love to see a certain superhero sticker that I hadn’t produced one for. Due to time (having had a baby) and funds (moving into our first home) I haven't been able to create these.
But I will shortly be creating a commemorative sticker in honour of Chadwick Boseman who helped so many people in so many ways and was truly a superhero!
If you’d like to see or use the stickers I’ve created, please feel free to reach out to me!