SANE Australia is asking Australians what they think is a fair and accurate portrayal of mental illness in a new survey, part of the Picture This project.
Type ‘mental illness’ into an internet image search and you will see pictures of people in the dark or in a corner, holding their head in their hands. Is this how Australians want mental illness to be portrayed?
Do you want see the images you get when you search “mental illness”? (Post continues after video.)
‘The language we use to discuss mental illness has evolved in recent years to reflect changing community attitudes.
‘The stigma associated with mental illness stops people asking for help and is a major barrier to recovery. It’s time to have a community-wide discussion about the way mental illness is visually portrayed,’ explains Jack Heath, CEO of SANE Australia.
Finding the right image to depict mental illness is a complex problem. Mental illness is a personal journey and using pictures to portray this can be subjective.
It’s something Lisa Maree Williams, Getty Images photographer and Walkley Awards finalist, has grappled with in her work.
Do you want to see some of the beautiful images taken by Lisa? They cover a range of subjects from same-sex marriage, to war and fashion for Muslim women. (Post continues after gallery.)
‘On many occasions throughout my career I’ve been assigned to stories surrounding the topic of mental illness, often this would involve visually illustrating the story of an individual and frequently being asked to not identify the subject for fear of discrimination. Silhouettes and dark images are obvious techniques adopted to achieve this, I always felt it was a broader refection of the communities attitudes towards mental illness – that it was a subject not to be openly discussed.