The research follows work by Time to Change a UK-based program challenging mental health stigma and discrimination. A survey for their Get The Picture campaign found that 58% of people saw the image of someone clutching their head as stigmatising and 76% said that it made others think that people with a mental illness should look depressed all of the time. More than 80% said the image did not convey how it feels to have a mental illness.
SANE will use the results from the survey to determine further action, which may include calling for new images or suggesting we re-think how we identify existing pictures.
The survey also provides participants with the opportunity to describe how they themselves picture mental illness.
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Getty Images have generously agreed to provide the images for this survey.
‘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.
‘This has clearly changed over recent years and a platform for discussion, especially to those directly affected by mental illness about how they view themselves and wish to be viewed could be very insightful,’ says Lisa Maree Williams, Getty Images photographer and Walkley Awards finalist.
The survey is aimed at Australians and is accessible online until midnight Friday 24 July 2015.