Live Brief case study: Lifecraft

ARU Philosophy students

ARU students from the BA Philosophy course participated in a Live Brief with user-led mental health charity Lifecraft, based in Cambridge.

The brief: Strategies to address stigmas about mental health and increase awareness of Lifecraft’s distinctive work:

Partner organisation Lifecraft invited students to create resources that Lifecraft could use practically to identify what is distinctive about their specific offer to user groups.

These resources needed to help increase public awareness of mental health issues, address stigma and misunderstandings about mental health generally, add to existing information on Lifecraft’s website and fundraising materials, and support Lifecraft’s campaigns to win sponsorship and investment.

How the Live Brief benefited Lifecraft:

In response to the Live Brief, students devised and presented materials, using a reflective approach, and offered possible strategies for the charity to use in a planned reshaping of their website, as well as suggestions for increasing awareness of their important work.

CEO of Lifecraft Gemma Barron worked with the students to devise the brief and attended the students’ final presentations. She described her experience of the Live Brief:

“I was really impressed with the sensitivity of the students’ approach to the issues. I found their presentation very thought-provoking, but also full of ideas Lifecraft could use in a practical way.”

The student group looked at some of the common misconceptions and misunderstandings about mental health issues, and why they arise.

What are the myths and facts? What is the best way to explain what can be quite complicated issues, in ways that mixed audiences (which may include not only those individuals who need support, but also friends, family and the general public), can really understand?

The students also looked at ways to raise awareness of the help and support available for mental health issues, specifically looking at the website design and various channels of communication Lifecraft was using, as well as ways to identify and contact groups that could benefit from the information.

They considered what sorts of communication work best, and how Lifecraft might reach out to people who otherwise might not be aware of the work they do. This included not only potential users of the services, but also stakeholders and organisations who want to learn more about Lifecraft’s work and how they might be able to help with fundraising, sponsorship and access to grants.

Finally, they considered ways to highlight Lifecraft’s approach as a user-led mental health support charity, to see what makes it distinctive, and to see how it complements the work of other mental health charities.

They sought to identify the reasons for taking this specific approach to supporting mental health issues and consider what might be the strengths of this approach, so that this could form part of the charity’s self-presentation.

How the Live Brief benefited students:

The Live Brief offered the students ways to link their theoretical work on the module concerning the nature of the mind and consciousness to the practical questions of mind and mental health, and to consider working for a charity as a possible area of work to explore after graduation.