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Unicef raises awareness of mental health using BCN3D’s 3D printing technology

Unicef raises awareness of mental health using BCN3D’s 3D printing technology

Unicef and Domestic Data Streamers have collaborated with BCN3D to create an art installation depicted in the streets of Paris in the form of 3D printed busts to raise social awareness of the issues children face as a result of the mental health pandemic and social stigma.

Faced with the complexity of anxiety, stress and depression problems caused by the pandemic, Unicef approached creative agency Domestic Data Streamers with a shocking report on the number of children suffering from these disorders in France. Domestic Data Streamers took this information and created 10 busts of real children for a thought-provoking art installation in the streets of Paris.

With millions of people around the world experiencing feelings stemming from these new non-pandemic situations, Unicef and Domestic Data Streamers agreed that it was time to take a crucial stand, ensuring that children will be part of the debate at the World Mental Health Summit 2021 in Paris.

Busts of ten children with various mental health problems were printed using 3D printing technology, each representing the alarming figure of 100,000 children aged 15-24 suffering from anxiety or depression in France.

“Normally, we do tributes to kings and queens and old people and conquerors. We thought it would be a beautiful idea to pay tribute to all these young people who have suffered in particularly difficult conditions during the pandemic,” said Martina Nadal, head of social impact at Domestic Data Streamers.

For three days, to tackle the social stigma of mental health, the installation was taken to the streets to make it visible and accessible to everyone, as mental health is something that affects all ages. The installation not only appealed to the public, but specifically targeted policy makers at the summit as they entered.

The printed parts were accompanied by volunteers, who told real stories of their own experiences with mental health struggles in the hope that their own experiences could help others. The volunteers addressed a wide range of issues, including racism, cyberbullying and the pressures of having such a busy school schedule that they lacked the time to really get to know each other.

For this project, time was of the essence, as was attention to detail. 3D printing provided the fast turnaround they were looking for, without compromising the quality that could be achieved for replicas of the real children’s faces. As Domestic Data Streamers has worked frequently BCN3D and uses its printers for prototyping, testing and production processes, the company decided to make use of the Epsilon W50 print fleet at BCN3D’s Barcelona offices.

The busts were printed in ABS to achieve a smooth finish and then painted in bright colours. “We chose to use colours in the installation, firstly because although mental health is a really serious topic we wanted it to be cheerful because it speaks of childhood, and also because this way we could represent diversity,” said Natalia Santolaria, creative director of Domestic Data Streamers.

The images of these busts boldly placed against the backdrop of Parisian monuments were certainly not to be missed. The conversations held, combined with Domestic Data Streamers’ innovation with new technologies and Unicef’s ongoing efforts to promote understanding of mental health issues, will surely continue to spread far and wide.


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