Mental Jam at the Big Anxiety Festival

Mental Jam at the Big Anxiety Festival

Student Michelle Chen discusses the importance of the Big Anxiety Festival and her event event, 'Mental Jam'.

The Big Anxiety Festival is taking place in Melbourne from 21 September – 15 October with a range of events to approach mental health in a variety of ways.

The festival focuses on lived experiences of mental health and explores the way in which art and design can provide support for people.

We spoke to Michelle Chen who told us more about ‘Mental Jam’

Why is it important that RMIT has an event such as The Big Anxiety Fest? 

I think it's really important to have an event such as The Big Anxiety Festival at RMIT, because the past years have been challenging for students and staff, and impacted their mental wellbeing.

I personally found the last few years quite challenging, and The Big Anxiety Festival is a great venue to share our lived experiences and learn from one another.

How does the game ‘Mental Jam’ relate to The Big Anxiety Festival?

As part of my PhD here at RMIT, I co-created video games with people (including RMIT students) about their lived experiences of depression and anxiety, and I will be showcasing some of the video games we created as part of RMIT First Site Gallery and Big Anxiety Festival.

Video games offer interactive and immersive experiences that can inspire players to gain knowledge of the lived perspectives of others.

Produced by the artist in collaboration with people with lived experience of depression and anxiety, this project shares their stories and invites us to explore the ways that games can express these experiences.

What does the game involve? 

The game collection includes ’Counter Attack Therapy’, which sees a humanoid cat named Alex who is struggling with depression, ’Amour de Soi’ in which an anxious girl learns to love herself following a break-up, ‘Anyo’, in which users face their own monsters and bring colour back to your world and lastly, ‘Sink/Swim’, which portrays depression through metaphor.

Michelle Chen

Find out more

Michelle (pictured) is looking forward to sharing the video game at the festival and wants to promote mental health awareness and empathy in the RMIT community. 

For more information visit the Mental Jam events page the Big Anxiety Festival program.

Watch the game trailer

09 September 2022


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.