HSE Little Things
For an Irish mental health and wellbeing campaign, Little Things required a sensitive approach to the stories of three individuals experience with depression, stress and anxiety; and how small actions can make a difference to your wellbeing.
The core message of the campaign is that we all experience life’s storms – the day to day difficulties that are an ordinary, everyday part of life. Things like stress, grief, feeling down, worried or anxious. However, there are things that you can do for yourself and others that will have a positive impact on how you feel and how you cope.
Our approach centred around intelligent and highly emotive graphic compositions to support the stories. With such sensitive subject matter the films needed to illustrate each story in a sympathetic but positive manner; whilst also being memorable, informative and relatable to a wide audience.
In order to do this we developed a range of intelligent and emotive visual metaphors to convey themes of isolation without being too gloomy or appropriating visual tropes related to depression. In this way the imagery supports the tone and mood of each personal journey, rather than visualising exactly what is said in the script verbatim. In turn allowing us to produce more emotive, elegant and effective films.
Robert's story of anxiety and having his confidence knocked stemmed from workplace bullying. Robert's mental wellbeing is echoed in his surroundings - the vast, drab office in the opening, a pencil breaking and plant losing leaves.
However, through escaping the office to share his worries with his brother, the worry is lifted and we see this transition through alterations to the colour and tone of the film. At the end of the film even though he is back in the office he fills the space differently and is watering his plant, suggesting he has a healthier mental state.
Una’s story centred around feelings of isolation and loneliness which we represented through the use of ever widening space around the character and solitary objects: Closed curtains, Missed phone calls or an unmade bed.
For the first section Una remains in the privacy of her own home as crowds of people move past her house on a match day at Croke Park. To emphasise her disconnected feelings we only see them indirectly as reflections in the window as Una peeps out or as a mass of feet as they walk up the street.
As in each film, little things provide a turning point to the characters mood and life. This had to be represented in both the design and an uplifting to the tone and music. For Una this is her leaving the house going to meet a friend, scenes transition to exterior, spacious and airy locations and a brighter colour palette in contrast to the muted tones of her isolation.
Alan's low feelings are signified by the character being stationary as we see him in the club and then later suffering from insomnia in the bed. As he reaches out to friends and begins to feel better, he travels to play football and we see a lift in the tone as he starts the car, as a reflection of his decision to change his mental health.
Designed, Directed & Produced by Art&Graft
Agency : Rothco
Creative Director : Mike Moloney
Lead Creative : Stephen Middleton
Lead Producer : Beth McQueen
Music / Sound : Echolab
Selected Press: The Irish Times