May 10, 2011

Capturing Mental Illness with Art

“This benefit of seeing... can come only if you pause a while, extricate yourself from the maddening mob of quick impressions ceaselessly battering our lives, and look thoughtfully at a quiet image... the viewer must be willing to pause, to look again, to meditate.” - Dorothea Lange

In order to expand my knowledge and understanding of mental illness, I am always on the lookout for powerful images that capture the internal experiences of my patients. I find the most compelling pictures to generate a deeper understanding of my patients' pain and suffering, and in turn, help deepen my empathy and respect for them.

As the above quote states, we often carelessly glance at images in our daily lives, and never take the time to ponder or contemplate their meaning or connection to the present moment. On the days where I feel calloused from the maddening nature of the inpatient unit, I find it helpful to direct my attention to a portrait or photograph to remind me of what my patients are going through.

The following is a collection of pieces from a few artists who did a wonderful job depicting symptoms and related emotions of individuals suffering from psychiatric disorders.

Jason Bard Yarmosky


"Tight End"

Brian Lewis Saunders


"Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Xanax"


Andres Guzman

Marion Bolognesi

1 comment:

Alicia Rae said...

This is a really neat post. I have my BSW and am working from the East Coast with adults who have chronic and persistent mental illness. I look forward to perusing the rest of your blog. Thanks for the artwork.