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Department of Health

An open door for mental health

The challenge 

For thousands of people experiencing mental health challenges across Australia every day, finding the right support services can be confusing and time consuming. Not what you need in moments of distress. And turning up to environments that weren’t designed to support mental distress (like a hospital Emergency Department) can worsen the experience of seeking help.

In 2020 the Australian Government commissioned eight pilot mental health centres across Australia to begin shaping a new open door to mental health for all Australians. With the ambition to open a comprehensive network of services across Australia within the next few years, the centres need to become a distinct new presence in the primary health care landscape.


Discovery research
Brand strategy
Brand identity
Brand roll out

The response

Folk helped to define and bring to life a national brand with local connection for the centres.

The pilot centres hadn’t been created yet, so the brand strategy played an important role capturing a clear and consistent understanding of what they were and how they would connect with people seeking help and support.

In a crowded and often confusing service landscape we saw that the new network of centres didn’t actually need a new name or brand. Instead, we proposed repositioning the ‘Head to Health’ brand name that was already in use for the mental health website, leveraging a mental health support masterbrand that could sit across a spectrum of service models and care. 

Co-creating the image of support

We put people with lived experience at the centre of our process. Co-creation sessions conducted with SANE Australia’s panel of mental health peer ambassadors brought in the voice of people with a diversity of conditions and experiences of accessing mental health services. Together we built a picture of what their moment of need looks like and how Head to Health could be the beacon they seek for support. 

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Creating time and space 

The brand needed to resonate with the short term mindset people with lived experienced described to us. Representing a way to disperse distress, a single step forward, clarity but not resolution. An emotionally driven brand that projected an open feeling of pause, calm and guidance.

The brand idea ‘create time and space’ framed the identity and informing the experience of each centre.

The identity translates this idea using the horizon line and colourscapes to literally manifest space in front of someone. It draws on the connection people make with outdoors and inner peace and keeping it simple so that clarity, calm and emotion cut through. Imagery balances a positive outlook with a more grounded tone, not overpromising, but understanding. All striving to help anyone feel comfortable and safe to reach out. 

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Localising the experience 

From indigenous communities to mining towns to cities, each centre’s location has a different community, distinct needs and network of related services around it. The sense of place helps people to feel understood. A single overpowering national centre brand would have diminished authenticity. The design system Folk created had to create cohesion at national level but also allowed important flexibility for local tailoring to help the brand connect with that community.

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As we write this, the pilot centres are live and plans for other services under Head to Health are underway. The Head to Health brand is set to make a distinct mark in the health care landscape.

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This project won Gold in the Design Branding and Identity category at the 2022 Australian Good Design Awards – one of the longest-running international design awards, showcasing the very best in design and innovation since 1958.

Read more about this prestigious award win here.

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