Skip to content

Wellcome Image of the Month: Mental Health

17 May, 2013

B0007986 Diary Drawings: Day 610

This week (13 – 19 May 2013) is mental health awareness week which aims to raise awareness of and challenge people’s views surrounding mental health issues. Mental health is unfortunately still often treated as a social stigma or taboo subject and this can leave people feeling even more isolated and vulnerable.

The Mental Health Foundation’s theme this year focuses on physical activity and exercise, which in addition to improving our physical wellbeing can also significantly affect mood, anxiety, stress levels and depression. Research also suggests that physical exercise may reduce the risk of developing dementia. In the UK, one quarter of the population will experience mental health issues of one form or another each year. In 2001, the World Health Organization estimated that 450 million people were affected worldwide.

Our image of the month is this hand drawn illustration from artist Bobby Baker. It depicts herself and journalist Jon Snow talking about mental health and human rights, on stage at The Barbican in London in September 2006. This drawing is one of over 600 personal diary sketchbook drawings that Bobby created over an 11 year period, through her own experience of mental health illness and navigation through the mental health system.

One of her performance pieces “How To Live” explored various therapies such as cognitive behaviour therapy and centred around a frozen pea diagnosed with a personality disorder. During the show’s September 2006 run, Bobby was asked to run a master class but instead opted for a post-show “in conversation” with Jon Snow. Having seen first-hand how people’s human rights can be breached, Bobby said “when this invitation came I thought that I needed personally to calmly express this knowledge publicly, in the context of my show How To Live. The most satisfying words I spoke are in the speech bubbles in the drawing.”

Bobby Baker is a performance artist and was the Drama Creative Fellow at Queen Mary University of London until 2008.

Image credit: Bobby Baker, Wellcome Images (Diary Drawings: Day 610)

Wellcome Images is one of the world’s richest and most unusual collections, with themes ranging from medical and social history to contemporary healthcare and biomedical science. All our images are available in digital form so please click the link above if you would like to use the picture that features in this post, or to quickly find related ones. Many are free to use non-commercially under the terms of a Creative Commons licence and full details of the specific licence for each image are provided.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: