TERRA: a vehicle for changing mental health conversations from stigma to social support.
Mental health touches everyone across the globe regardless of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. It also crosses all sectors from workplace culture to LGBTQ youth; our homeless population to refugee communities; new mothers to aging adults. During times of natural disaster or public crisis, we all need a little extra support. And keeping those struggling with mental health issues out of prison is a feat in and of itself. Community-focused organizations are doing phenomenal work and making strides every year, however, the challenge still lies in public stigma and access, which leads to individuals not getting help when and where they need it most.
We are shifting the conversation entry point entirely, from individual ask to social experience.
It is only when we spark curiosity that we can educate, create empathy, and shift perspectives. Our goal is to create a second team of help - our "partners on the ground", neighbors and fellow community members - to change the reality.
TERRA is our "partner on the ground" providing a barrier-free mental health care experience. Our conversation starts with self-care + shared stories and ends with consumers becoming trusted partners themselves building healthier, resilient, and more connected communities.
TERRA Mobile is a truck + mobile program-flexible, stigma-busting vehicle on the ground when and where you need it most. It can be present in a public crisis (ex: hurricane relief efforts) or stationed at a partnering organization for accessible treatment sessions. Mental health professionals have the capacity to scale and deliver their services, partnering with local entities (on-location) such as law enforcement, churches, schools, and LGBTQ centers to provide targeted education. Perhaps the most effective programming in reducing stigma is the pop-up mode, with self-care experiences and education creating social buzz at festivals and gatherings.
TERRA Mobile is created through three equal strategies : Cultural, Partnership, and Design.
de-stigmatization + shared experience
Food trucks are prolific across the globe as a cultural and social destination. By utilizing this urban icon we can build rapport, spread knowledge, and create the trust necessary to open up "taboo" dialogue in a fun and engaging setting. We can provide easy-to-access social events focused on sparking curiosity, personal education, and shared experiences. This allows for barrier-free participation around mental health topics and creates the understanding that no one is suffering alone.
education, prevention, + intervention
Because we are reaching out to partnerships on their turf, we will EXPAND truck + mortar mobility into communities most in need of resources; CONNECT through educational outreach programs, shifting public sentiment from stigma to empathy; and DELIVER mobile treatment space for those seeking immediate help. With a range of services required, each truck can be configured for specific programming and partnership needs.
flexibility + scale
While the truck + mortar model drives the typology, interactive walls and nature inform the design strategies themselves. Each truck is recognized as a "greenhouse on wheels", inserting natural elements and flooding the unit with light. There are walls for healing, for sharing stories, and for privacy. Hinged panels can open up to provide an expanded space for multi-person gatherings, or circle up a few trucks to create a large event/treatment space in the center.
Future vision: TERRA Home
The future vision of mental health post-stigma is one where accessing treatment is as common and easy as your neighborhood urgent care center, with our practitioners working alongside physical health care providers to create deep community support.
TERRA Home is a brick + mortar location that reflects the same programming and design aesthetic of TERRA Mobile, with connection to nature providing the common experience across locations and allowing for self-care education, social activities, and on-demand treatment to co-exist in a safe and affordable center.
This could be a stand alone center within a city block or town. It could also become a stationary pop-up in an existing community or business space as a long-term partnership opportunity.