Since 2013, there has been a 47% increase in number of young adults suffering from major depression. As a design team we hoped to dig deeper into a problem that deeply affects the lives of those around us. This project was the culmination of a 12 week long Design Field Studies Class at the University of Washington, taught by Michael P. Smith.


Sam Tompkins
Sayena Mjsln

Research Questions

What are the impacts of personal technology on the mental health of students with depression?
What are the sociopersonal factors(settings, relationships, background) that contribute to depression in young adults?
What types of methods do students employ to fight depression?

Field Work

Our research process included seven interviews, two with experts in the field of depression, and five with young adults (18-30) who have dealt with or currently deal with depression.

"I would say that building that self esteem, was the turning point to my depression "

—Vincent / 26 years, male

"I thought deep depression as a hole that your stuck in... sometimes I'm scraping, scraping, scraping, trying to get out, but then I just fall back in"

—Stephanie / 28 years, female

"People have to want to change,
I don't think I can make anybody change."

—Piper / University Therapist

What we found

Self awareness is the first step toward recognizing depression, and the first step toward dealing with it.

Depression is a battle to establish self worth. People aren't able to help themselves if they don't consider themselves worth helping.

Relationships can be both hurtful and helpful, yet deep connections with others can make the greatest impact.

The Depressive Cycle
What Should Our Impact Be?

Encourage self awareness

Being aware that you are "not feeling right" is the first step to taking action about your one's depression. Without recognition there can be no action.

Challenge our relationships with technology.

Technology often hijacks our attention, which can make it difficult to even pay attention to ourselves and our condition.

Final Concept

Reflections is a biometric wearable which determines your emotional and physical state with biometrics. From that biometric information it contextually supports or counters your emotional state with questions, statements, or quotes from the past.

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In Class Deliverables

© 2019 Timothy Kwan