MoodMural aims to open a dialogue about mental health which has deteriorated worldwide during the pandemic. MoodMural creates unique designs to visually represent your daily mental state and to inspire discussion about mental health. You are encouraged to save and share your personal design and to discuss how you are feeling. The end goal is to promote empathy and to open discussion about mental health. 

Throughout the pandemic, I have personally been struggling with my mental health, but I know I am not the only one. Statistics show significant levels of distress across the population during the pandemic. Reduced social contact and interaction with peers, economic impacts such as loss of livelihood, increased rates of domestic violence, and decreased access to mental health services have all played a part in the rising numbers. Major depressive disorders rose 28% globally (53 million people) and anxiety disorders rose 26% globally (76 million people). (There is emerging evidence that the pandemic has also affected other types of mental disorders, such as eating disorders.)

Without treatment, depression and anxiety tend to get worse. Common symptoms include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and sleep disturbance. Other signs may include constant fear or worry, changes in eating, loss of interest in activities, inability to relax, persistent feelings of sadness, or physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, headaches, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, and panic attacks. Depression often keeps people from doing the very things that may help to alleviate their symptoms, such as: exercising, talking to friends, getting quality sleep, eating well, and minimizing substance use.

Another important component of MoodMural is assisting you in naming the exact emotion you are feeling (emotional granularity). Many people cannot accurately explain how they are feeling beyond happy, sad, or angry. To paraphrase Brene Brown in her book Atlas of the Heart, having the right words to explain what you are feeling and experiencing can give you the power of understanding. I have used the vocabulary of the emotions wheels created by S. Colby Peters, PhD, LCSW of Human Systems which are based on the original Plutchik wheel of emotions. I felt Dr. Peters' vocabulary intuitively categorized and elaborated on the basic feelings and would best convert into a visual format.

MoodMural creates a unique daily design based on your answers to ten simple questions. This visual representation can be used as a mood tracker. Tracking your mood daily can help you understand how and when your mood shifts happen and identify important patterns in your behavior. MoodMural uses your current emotional state (based on Dr. Peters' vocabulary) along with the physical elements mentioned above (getting enough sleep, eating healthy, drinking water, exercise/movement, getting outside, and communicating with friends or family) as the metrics to create your daily MoodMural design.

For further reading on these topics, see the bibliography below.

Bibliography
Brown Brené. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience. Random House, 2021.

Henderson, Emily. “How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Mental Health?” News Medical Life Sciences, 20 Oct. 2021, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20211019/How-has-the-COVID-19-pandemic-affected-mental-health.aspx.

Peters, S. Colby. “Emotion Wheels & Needs Wheel.” Human Systems, 19 Jan. 2022, https://humansystems.co/emotionwheels/.

Pidd, Helen. “Psychosis Cases Rise in England as Pandemic Hits Mental Health.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 17 Oct. 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/oct/18/psychosis-cases-soar-in-england-as-pandemic-hits-mental-health.

Rodriguez, Diana. “How to Cope with Anxiety and Depression.” EverydayHealth.com, 29 Sept. 2020, https://www.everydayhealth.com/anxiety/anxiety-and-depression.aspx.

Stieg, Cory. “Depression Rates Have Tripled during the Pandemic - How to Recognize the Signs and Respond to Them.” CNBC, CNBC, 10 Oct. 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/10/depression-increased-during-covid-pandemic-how-to-feel-better-cope.html.

Villines, Zawn. “Mood Tracker Apps: Learn More about Some of the Best Options Here.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 31 Aug. 2020, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mood-tracker-app#mood-tracker-apps.

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Contact
Kimberly Rader
kimrader111@gmail.com

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