For the circulation project I decided to use my infographic to work as a public service announcement in a place where mental health issues aren’t normally being discussed. I work at Starbucks in the affluent community of Mount Lebanon, just south of Pittsburgh, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to bring the issues of mental health to light in a different kind of community.
My Starbucks is located in a large mall in the heart of Mount Lebanon, which gave me confidence that I would be able to reach my target audience of youth and parents with ease. I chose to use my infographic as my circulation flyer due to its element of accessibility. Starbucks is a fast-paced environment where people generally linger only for a few moments; customers were able to read and understand the message easily and quickly. I felt that with just a quick glance, my infographic flyer would be able to get an important message about mental health across. I hoped it would leave the person with a significant issue to think about while they rushed off to work or school with their morning coffee.
A challenge that I encountered right off the bat was trying to identify who was being impacted by my infographic. I addressed this problem by adding my twitter handle to the bottom of the flyer, allowing people interested in mental health issues to directly communicate with me.
Another challenge that I ran into was getting approval from my store manager to be able to display my infographic on the community board. She expressed a concern that the subject may be too controversial and thus drive customers away. After I explained the nature of the assignment to her, she seemed to be much more willing to allow me to hang up my poster but only for a week. This was an issue that I was expecting to encounter, due the stigma that surrounds mental health and the tendency for people to feel uncomfortable when presented with these issues.
The flyers typically displayed on the community board attract attention to community issues, such as volunteer work or finding a good home for a litter of kittens. Juxtaposing my flyer against flyers that discuss and promote neutral issues would eliminate the discomfort of having mental health issues seemingly thrust into the face of a customer. Additionally, the flyer’s placement would promote an understanding that mental health issues are prevalent even in affluent communities. Ultimately, my hope was to establish an understanding that mental health issues should be openly discussed without the discomfort of stigmas.