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HCD IDEO CERTIFICATION: Reducing stigma towards people living with disabilities.


Design Research, Product Design, User Centricity


Laura Cerioli , Annamaria Szakonyi

Design firm

IDEO +Acumen 

Of the one billion people across the globe who live with disabilities, 80% currently reside in a developing country. The stigma against this percentage can face significant levels of social and professional discrimination, challenging them to find work in their communities.



People with same psychological characteristics cope with different mechanism. 
Lack of empathy or miss understanding of their illness is why they are the most worried about.



Psychiatry has showcased that it can be determined through medical testing if a patient has a mental illness, making it possible to use it as a tool for medical insurance.


Getting to know the quality of live in the context, confronting the stigma of buying mental illness medicie, and wanting to live a normal life.

field research and analagous inspirtation


It's an organization that gives work opportunities to every refugee and returnee in México, by helping them getting contacts and doing workshops to learn new skills.

The stressful situation, similar to mental illness, is that discrimination exist for "political" reasons, when in reality, it's a taboo and cultural challange, as there are ways to include them in daily jobs without the stigma of the "POOR LITTLE THING, LET'S HIRE THEM". In which the two sectors: disabilities and refugees feel them. 


Just by changing the language, it is easier to relate to the problem (mental illness versus socially adept).

In certain insurance plans this is not even covered - you need to have a clinical/blood test to prove your mental illness (mental health: you need a diagnosis, versus physical health: prevention is key).

Having a supporting context is key to be motivated



Shape the language and discourse around mental illness that creates empathy and understanding?.

Legitimize mental health to be equally considered as part of the overall human wellness just like physical health is?
Create awareness and involve the community to be more supportive about people with mental illness?


Diaries of a Beautiful Mind

A comic style book that raises awareness and creates understanding about mental health, by introducing real-life stories of people affected by mental health from EVERY angles.

design proposal

click on the image to read the story!

making full circle with hcd business side


Initially we are applying for grant funding for the creation of the book (e.g. the National Institutes of Health - NIH funding for mental health awareness and support), then we will partner with nonprofits to define a diverse distribution strategy for the book


We will self-publish the book through Amazon. With an aggressive marketing campaign we will provide a few copies and/or samples for free to be able to generate book reviews and achieve best seller status on Amazon (establishing credibility).

Some books will be provided for free to certain populations as educational materials (e.g. to nonprofits so they can distribute it in their communities, schools, universities, etc.).

The books will also be sold via Amazon and potentially other publishers for other consumers. The proceeds of those sales will go to support mental health nonprofits and to invest in other efforts related to mental health awareness campaigns and materials.

Target audiences for the pitch:

First we’ll be pitching to volunteer creators who will work on creating the actual book and submitting the grant funding application

Then we’ll pitch to the first readers and consumers of the comic who will provide our reviews on Amazon to achieve best seller status (i.e. marketing campaign)

Then we’ll pitch to nonprofits to generate partnerships with them which will benefit their efforts and provide a platform and audience for our book

Finally we’ll pitch to publishers and other funders to raise money to assist expanding the book into physical copies, higher volumes, more editions, etc.

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