Summary of Society’s Perception of Mental Illness.

After my research into representation and society’s perception of mental illness, I felt it important to reflect upon the key points I had drawn out in relation to moving my project forwards.

  • Representation is built up through our own understanding of particular meanings (system of signs). I will have to consider how composing certain objects and set ups will portray relevant meanings and emotions to the audience from those suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder. This will be easier to begin thinking about once I have spoken to some people.
  • The ‘language’ I use to communicate with the audience of my work needs to be relatable and understandable in order to apply to wide range of people and challenge the stigma surrounding mental health.
  • It is immensely important as a photographer to be tactful and grateful of other’s sharing their stories with me and making sure I represent them in the correct way as I do not have my own knowledge and experience of SAD to use.
  • Mental illness does not seem to get the same kind of respect and treatment as physical illnesses, is this important understanding something I can challenge through my body of work?
  • The discrimination associated with mental illness can be just as demoralising as the illness itself, hence why it is so important to begin challenging this stigma and highlights the reason for doing this project. This discrimination is often caused by those judging who do not understand, hence why sharing these experiences mean more people will learn how crippling mental illness can be.
  • It’s hard to draw a line to define where mental illness ‘begins’ and what is classed as behaviour associated with it but nonetheless, people still judge it as differing attitude and behaviour from their own and this is what creates the stigma which needs to be challenged.
  • Mental illness is something which can affect anyone and needs to stop being viewed as something which may only affect certain people, hence why I want my project to be relatable for the audience and understand how much it can affect someone’s life.
  • The misrepresentations of mental health in the media is the ‘go-to’ for information and as we are so absorbed within the media we don’t tend to question it otherwise. Again this is why my project is important to raise interest in these honest representations and not the criminal, unjustifiable behaviour which has become associated with those who suffer with mental illness.
  • Stigma is created through 3 social processes: comparison, identification and devaluation. It is important for my project to help illuminate the final devaluation process as although we will always compare and identify behaviour different to our own, by distinguishing these types of behaviour as mental illness and understanding them, it will slowly reduce the discrimination and social perspectives of mental health.
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~ by victoriasimkissphotography on January 18, 2015.

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