Mental health awareness is currently at its highest, marked by days,
weeks and months on the calendar. This is the achievement of the many
campaigns led by public and private institutions, and the hundreds of
charities built around these issues. The shared goal is to erase the
stigma around mental health disorders and encourage people to seek help.
But what happens when support is sought? What resources are available,
and how do we access them?
We are here to help you is a series of
projects in which I revisit my personal experience applying for mental
health aid from public services in the UK. Each is presented through
different methods of graphic analysis, starting by mapping out the whole
journey and then zooming deeper into details.
The foundation of the research is a flowchart that tracks the route I
followed to access treatment. It includes the organisations, people and
procedures I encountered across the application process, providing a
bird's-eye view of the journey and its ramifications.
Looking closer at the process, it comes across as scripted - where each
organisation plays a different role depending on the services they
provide. The following text contrasts how the institutions present
themselves through their marketing material with my experience as a
Most of the application is made through paperwork. I compiled the
documents I was supplied with into a printed archive. It's printed on
continuous paper to embody the length of this procedure - 80m in total,
taller than a 20-storey building.
The paperwork that I had to do most often was the questionnaires to
monitor my mental health. Over time, I found them challenging to
complete, possibly because one of the symptoms of depression is having
trouble concentrating. When we can't focus, we tend to skim-read,
searching for specific information or the general idea of the content. I
distilled one of the tests through a system that removes 5 words at a
time, to emulate how the test could be read if scanned for core
I did find a vast amount of people out there to help me, but for some
reason, meeting more carers seemed to harm me. The following experiment
is a first-person simulation which recreates a selection of moments I
We've attained plenty of mental health awareness, but the services
available are lagging behind. This project aims to provide an insight
into what happens after reaching out for help. I've used my experience
as the focal point of this research, but further discussion is needed.
If you have ever required mental health assistance or are a mental
health professional, please share your experiences in the following
form. There's a conversation to have that can save lives.