Time to Chance logoAccording to a Time to Change campaign supported by British celebrity and mental wellness champion Stephen Fry, it looks like a stock image of a person with their head in their hands – something the charity hopes to change.

Anybody who has experience with mental health issues can tell you why these images are harmful. It is the relationship between ‘headclutcher’ images and mental illness that facilitates the silence of so many, reducing a vast, complex range of experiences to one simple ‘correct’, stereotyped, response.

Sadly, it is all too hard for many individuals living with mental health conditions to express their inner struggles in such an open way. Fear of being stigmatized, or labelled, means that the sunniest person you know, could also be the most at risk person in your life too.

In response to the ubiquitous ‘head-in-hands’ image, Time To Change is not only compiling an image bank of more representative photos (free to download here), they are also asking for personal images where the subject is smiling, but felt they were falling apart inside. The aim is to open people’s eyes to the subtleties and complications of living with mental illness, and to dispel the myth that every issue amounts to the same emotional response.

Get the Picture is about more than using more accurate imagery, it’s about educating the public in hopes that not only will people suffering feel more able to ask for help, but so their loved ones feel more able to ask if they need it – even if they haven’t got their head in their hands.
See some of the pictures alongside their accompanying stories here.