NAMI MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
The importance and awareness of mental health has always been crucial to me. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in high school. And I still struggle from time to time in grappling with my brain chemistry. From my research, I discovered I am not alone. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the US alone struggle with mental illness in a given year. With those kind of numbers, I felt there was a real need for further awareness.
I created this poster series as a mock campaign by NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI helps millions of people with mental illness every year. This poster series shows the reality of the feelings and struggle behind mental illness through metaphor. For example, depression to many who struggle with it feels like a towering monster snuffing out all the light in their life. Or for those struggling with substance abuse, they feel like they are controlled by their reliance cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol. With panic attacks, which can come on very suddenly, the person suffering feels like they are free-falling into a frenzy, with no grounds for steadiness or peace. And with anxiety, someone may feel like their worries are cycling around them cruelly and constantly.
The goal of this series is to break the stigma that only weak people suffer from mental illness and that they can simply ‘get over it.’ The truth is, it takes a lot of strength to combat mental disorders. This campaign is to help non-sufferers empathize with how mental illness feels, and to show the mentally ill that they’re not alone nor in any way feeble because of their battles.
In these designs, I used somewhat jarring, disturbing imagery paired with a lighter-hearted art style, since the stigma around mental illness is already very heavy. I also used color in a way that was equally vivid, jarring, and strangely disturbing, to communicate the real intensity of true mental illness. At the base of each poster, as shown in the bus shelter (right), is the contact information for NAMI and the suicide prevention hotline. I also feature versions of the poster with just the imagery.