Communications & Education
Our team has used several ways to communicate with the public and educate the communities through multiple ways.
We created an online survey to get a better idea of people’s experience with depression and how well they understand depression. The 14-question poll consisted of questions such as “do you know someone who has or has had depression”, “do you understand depression”, “in what ways have you heard about this illness”, and more, all attempting to locate the public on their knowledge of the disorder. This also provided a chance for participants to reflect on their awareness, or lack thereof, regarding depression.
A total of 231 people have completed the questionnaire. Through analysis of their responses, we found out that while 68 percent of survey-takers selected “yes” on whether they know a person who has or has had depression, 64 percent answered “no” when they were asked if they understand the illness. The difference between the two questions of depression shows the lack of education about depression to the general public. On the question of “where do you receive information about depression,” most of the responses indicated that news or social media demonstrating a need for formal education about depression.
From the results of this survey, we learned that a significant portion of the public does not have a thorough understanding of depression. The survey also allows participants to reflect on their knowledge about depression. Some of the questions may encourage people to learn more about the topic. Based on the survey result, we created a WeChat Official Account that posts our articles on what depression is, what causes it and more from biological and psychological stances.
WeChat Official Accounts
In order to spread awareness and deconstruct bias on depression, we created an official account on WeChat. We posted self-written articles about the biological and psychological mechanisms behind the disorder. We pointed out current public biases and stereotypes on depression, described it from a scientific standpoint, and explained the factors that lead to it. Using anecdotes, diagrams, pictures, and colorful layout in each article, we provided engaging and informational content that educates the public on different facets of this mental illness.
In another article on our WeChat channel, we introduced to our readers the concept of synthetic biology, including some related technologies such as gel electrophoresis, PCR, and CRISPR. This article aims to educate our readers and engage them in our research process. Synthetic biology is a field of science full of potential. Inventions and studies can be applied to various areas, solving some serious problems we are facing now. We also provided an analysis on the principle of synthetic biology about how it cures disease and can therefore bring a massive leap to human studies in science, even if we only have a basic level of experiments and exploration in this field.
Each member of the LightHouse team then shared the articles and official accounts through Moments and direct messages to friends and family. As a result, we were able to gain over 4000 reads on our first article alone, indicating a good accomplishment in our goal to raise more awareness.
We also published a Wechat official account article to educate the public about essential biotechnologies to raise awareness about synthetic biology. We talked about the basic definition of synthetic biology and the concept behind biotechnologies such as PCR, gel electrophoresis, and CRISPR. The article provides readers with a fundamental knowledge about synthetic biology and intrigues many to look deeper into it. By educating the public about synthetic biology, we hope more people understand the power and role of science in the modern era. Such education also erases prejudices or false information about science, which helps people to access medication at early stages of depression.
In addition to online resources that we used to educate the public, we created a tri-fold brochure and handouts and posters that introduced our team, explained current bias and stereotypes on depression, listed existing treatments, and elaborated on our method of alleviating symptoms. In addition, we condensed what were originally long explanations to more digestible sections for readers and utilized bright colors such as yellow and light blue to convey hope and happiness. These brochures provided a more tangible source of communication from our team to the public, as people could hold the paper, read the printed ink on those pages, and learn things about depression that they had not known before.
We passed out these flyers and tri-fold brochures during our charity sale and on the street, hoping to educate more people in our efforts to spread awareness.
Setting up a stall
To sell our team's peripheral products for fundraising and improve the overall understanding of the depression of the public, we set up an outside stall at Yifeng Galleria from June 19th to 20th from 3 to 10 pm. Our booth is located near The Bund, one of the busiest spots in Shanghai. Our products included canvas bags, notebooks, stickers, and flowers. Some people came near and started to appreciate the delicate setup, and some showed more interest in our project. People also began to take photos of us, and we are glad we gained more attention. We sold some of our products for a total amount of ¥510. More importantly, more people got to know about our activities and learned more about depression.
Besides selling our product, we also boosted our publicity by passing out brochures to strangers, informing them about our mission. We put a QR code on the back of our brochure so that people could subscribe to our WeChat official account. While promoting our ideology on depression and products, we found that people’s first reaction towards our topic seemed to be fear and worry. When people heard the word “depression”, they were surprised, then immediately stated that they did not have depression. This instant denial of depression repeated over and over again, and we began to wonder why. By passing out brochures, more people learned about their pre-existing biases. We believe that our stall helped people learn more about depression, and all of our profits will be donated to charity.