Tens of millions of Americans suffer from some form of mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Although attitudes toward mental illness have become more positive in recent years, there's still terrible stigmas associated with mental illness despite how common it is. To help raise awareness about mental health, this artist is educating people using art and the ABCs.
In her ongoing series A to Z of Mental Health, India-based writer, illustrator, and graphic designer Sonaksha Iyengar creates that focus on a specific mental illness and its first letter. (So, "A" is for "anxiety," "B" is for "bipolar disorder," and so on.)
The project is part of the 36 Days of Type challenge, an Instagram-based challenge for artists to express their views on letters and numbers in the alphabet. "The alphabet is one of the first things we are taught in schools, so I think it is just as important to learn about mental health, hence the format," she told The Mighty.
The 22-year-old has personally struggled with mental illness and starting this project was an effort to help destigmatize these conditions through art.
"I think it's so important to be sensitive to how another person is feeling and sometimes when it comes to mental illnesses, people can be so harsh," Iyengar told BuzzFeed. "'Get over it' is not how it works and I think being more aware and acknowledging mental health will help us make a start in the direction towards kindness and empathy."
She hopes that the series will help to start a conversation about the importance of mental health. So far, she's gotten up to the letter "U," and we're excited to see the series continue.
You can check out the illustrations below: