Mental Health Awareness Week has come around again and, just as we did last year, we want to take a very quick moment to showcase just some of the powerful explorations of the topic in comics by reminding you that any relevant material we’ve covered at Broken Frontier is all tagged in one place here. You can also follow the Twitter hashtag here for a wider coverage of the event online.
One of the greatest strengths of comics as a form, of course, is its ability to evoke a profound sense of empathy between subject and audience. It’s a connection that has been used to great effect in graphic novel form to communicate the realities of living with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions. In the words of recent interviewee Rachael Smith (Wired Up Wrong, above) “I think the comics medium really lends itself to explaining how depression can physically feel sometimes. People who don’t suffer from depression often don’t understand that part very easily. ‘Why didn’t you just get out of bed?’ they say. But sometimes it literally feels like there’s a weight bearing down on you, or a fear that paralyses you. I tried to draw how this feels in different ways.”
Lucy Sullivan’s Barking is a distinctive exploration of mental health crisis and is currently crowdfunding at Unbound Books here
Similarly Ravi Thornton (HOAX Psychosis Blues) said to me on this subject in 2014: “Comics present a multi-faceted landscape which in some ways is more akin to cinema than prose; such that whilst you are following the core strand of the story, you are constantly being fed other information from around that core on the page. This makes for very effective emotional engagement.”
Since last year’s Mental Health Awareness Week we’ve covered practice on the subject by the likes of Keiler Roberts, Rachael Smith, Robert Wells and Lucy Sullivan, amongst others. Check out a couple of pages of pertinent comics and graphic novel reviews and interviews here (and remember it only barely scratches the surface of what’s out there!) and look out for our tweeting out about significant comics in this field of graphic medicine across the rest of the week.
For more on Mental Health Awareness Week visit the official site here.