Currently, through my camera lens, I’ve begun an ongoing visual journey to bring to light an awareness of a silent, deadly epidemic: mental illness. In an enlightened age, this insidious disease often remains hidden and unacknowledged due to stigma, shame, and hopelessness. Many people with symptoms of mental illness/brain disorders may neglect and deny their own needs and feelings. All too often, emotional emptiness and isolation conceal such disorders as depression, anxiety, abuse, struggle, loss of hope, mood issues, and more. “Silence like a cancer grows.” Despite the fact that many of these issues are treatable, those who suffer often live isolated in their own darkness. As a result, suicide has now become the second-leading cause of death among the young in Illinois and across the country. The internet has caused cyber-bullying to become a huge contributing risk factor for adolescents. Veterans and older adults are at high risk as well.
My visual journey through the lens is designed to bring awareness that a vast number of those who have lived with the nightmare of mental illness succumb to suicide. Included as well are the poignant images of the survivors of suicide loss, who are left to ask “Why?” My photo images are intended to bring light to a silent epidemic with hope, comfort, education, and awareness. Through my lens, I want to show the strength of those who continue to give voice to those who have been silenced too soon and those who continue to take steps to fight and serve as champions for change.
Copyright 2016 Joan Malina Photography