Mental Health Awareness Remix @ MIT- (In)visible M(IT)!

Hi! It’s Emmi from MIT. Last week, I did a “locally relevant remix” with @viviangarcia at my club, the Global Health Alliance at MIT. We incorporated a public-health perspective by framing the activity as a mental health exercise to nurture the mind-body connection. It was also introduced as a “mental reset” from academic stress and anxiety. :face_with_spiral_eyes: It could be good to this with high school or middle school students too!

Quick Facts
Num of Facilitators needed = atleast 1
Num of Patrons this remix is designed for= 5+

Materials: (this is
what we used- but the options are limitless!)

  • Example Slide-Show
  • Directions Zine
  • Felt-paper/Pom-poms (something fuzzy)
  • Bells (something jingly)
  • Origami/Decorative Paper (we had glittery paper!)
  • Googley eyes
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Twine/yarn
  • Markers/Pens/Pencils

The process
First, Vivian and I introduced the project by presenting a short slide deck about the definition of interoception, the motivation for the activity, and examples of past projects. Then, we allowed the students to create! We provided zines and various tactile materials with especially “soothing” textures, such as soft felt and fluffy pompoms. However, to allow students to take the prompt wherever they desired, we also provided fun materials such as googly eyes, mini bells, bright construction paper, glittery textiles, and origami.

The prompts

  • “What are some feelings, bodily sensations, or movements that you like to measure?”
  • “Does anyone have some type of biometric counter (fitbit, apple watch, iphone) - what does it track, and what does it NOT track?”
  • "How is your mental health - and the mental health of others - influenced by the environment or situations around them?
  • What are ways that our emotions are expressed, besides just words?
  • How would you define a mind-body connection?

Example projects
We shared a few example products with various artistic and technical levels within our slide show.

  1. Caitlyn Morris’s “privacy shield” accessory
  1. PLIX “Low tech wrist tracker”

  2. Sensory “Mood-fluencer” Board

Showing the slide deck and explaining the heart of the activity got everyone excited about introspection. We presented to the Global Health Alliance club, so everyone was already aware of the importance of taking the time to look within and understand the body’s signals. We did not have challenges, but one thing that took some time to explain was how to translate the concept into a working tool. I think many people immediately thought of high-tech tools like smartwatches and sleep trackers and were unsure of what to make of the simple crafting materials we provided. After seeing the examples on the slide deck, however, everyone was excited to try their hand at making some beautiful, low-tech, stress relieving and introspective creations.

We framed prompts to open up possibilities, celebrate process and product, and model curiosity and confidence. Everyone had fun brainstorming and sharing their ideas - it was peer learning at work!

From the students

“I really appreciated the activity: it felt like I was back in elementary school with the freedom to play around with materials and just create. I enjoyed the flexible structure and how it allowed me to live more in the moment.” - Anonymous Penguin :penguin:

“The art project was a really nice break from the typical structure of thinking and knowledge that MIT classes enforce. I enjoyed the freedom and it was so fun to play around with all the fun craft supplies!” - Anonymous Lion :lion:


That sounds like a solid and fantastic approach!