25/May/2016 : This week I have collected research from a range of sources : academic journals, youtube and creative art works.
Academic Journals/ Articles (Discover Search Engine):
Heather Aldersy and Rob Whitley discussed “Family influence in Recovery from severe mental illness” in their web article published in 2015. A semi-structured interview with families revealed they both facilitated and impended on the patients recovery. Whilst the families showed signs of assisting recovery ( in moral support, practical support and motivation to recover), the negative side were things such as acting as a stressor, displaying stigma and lack of understanding, and forcing hospitalization.
Aldersey, Heather, and Rob Whitley. “Family Influence In Recovery From Severe Mental Illness.” Community Mental Health Journal 51.4 (2015): 467-476 10p. CINAHL Complete. Web. 7 June 2016.
What was also compelling was the research of Cynthia J. Neuman in “Impact Of Borderline Personality Disorder On Parenting: Implications For Child Custody And Visitation Recommendations.”(2016). On a similar selection of the Aldersy and Whitley article, this journal focused on the effects a parent with mental illness inflicts on the family- particular the children. For instance, I found the table below (Mason, P.T. & Kreger, R. (2010). Stop walking on eggshells (2nd ed.). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications) a clever and clear presentation of symptoms of BPD in a parent. A common symptom of BPD is to not admit to the disorder or to seek help. The journal further discussed BPD in custody, the problematic situation this is because of the characteristics of BPD and as to how and why this creates difficulty in divorce.
Neuman, Cynthia J. “Impact Of Borderline Personality Disorder On Parenting: Implications For Child Custody And Visitation Recommendations.” Journal Of Child Custody: Research, Issues, And Practices 9.4 (2012): 233-249. PsycINFO. Web. 7 June 2016.
The final academic text I sourced was the article,”‘He Acted Like A Crazy Person’: Exploring The Influence Of College Students’ Recall Of Stereotypic Media Representations Of Mental Illness.”, by Jessie M. Quintero Johnson and Riles Julius. Carrying on with some interest I build in assessment 2 on the complex world of cinema, the recent research presented in the article satisfied my ongoing interest in the media and acted as an interesting tangent for my mental health research. The study proved interesting in it’s findings in the way mental illness is able and has become stereotyped and ill recognised by collage students due to media representation of it. “Interestingly”, the article reads, “39% of participants wrote that the mentally ill characters looked “normal.” – meaning there is a suggestion in media representation of mental illness as something physically identifiable. Another notable find was that subject’s answered : ““he acted like a crazy person” when asked to describe the characteristics and conditions exhibited by mentally ill media characters”.
Quintero Johnson, Jessie M., and Julius Riles. “‘He Acted Like A Crazy Person’: Exploring The Influence Of College Students’ Recall Of Stereotypic Media Representations Of Mental Illness.” Psychology Of Popular Media Culture(2016): PsycARTICLES. Web. 7 June 2016.
I hope to link the use of all these studies and research journals into contextualizing my creative work appropriately. I am definitely keen to look into the Quintero and Julius concept of Media representation forming mental illness stereotype and how I could represent this visually. This research will hopefully give me a depth of understanding in this field and prompt my drafting in the coming week.
(Above: Representations of mental illness in Film)
Prior to researching academic sources, I’d begun watching similar movies to what I usually do, selecting ones that featured a portrayal of mental illness if I could. I am not sure the credibility this has to my study, yet I found it interesting . To what degree of entitlement did I or anyone have to say someone has or has not portrayed a mental illness appropriately? There is such a loose idea of what mental illness is and in cinema there is this guarantee for anything to be stream lined to some extent. A way that I hadn’t thought about the way actors portrayed mental illness in film (although I am grateful to find this insight) is recorded below in an interview of Philip Seymour Hoffman on Happiness. It kind of just says that people are trying to be people, what ever state a person is capable to be in , and we shouldn’t get too offended if the portrayal is honest.
“Philip Seymour Hoffman on Happiness” by Blank on Blank.
Hoffman, Philip Seymour. “Happiness.” Interview by Simon Critchley. Rubin Museum of Art 17 May 2012
“If we’re so keen on being happy, why do we spend so much time in the dark watching actors as brilliant as you portraying miserable creatures”
Philip Seymour Hoffman:
“You’re relieved that somebody actually got it down on paper. And you’re grateful because it is that awful or that brutal, and therefore, that memorable.
If I don’t allow people to identify with the worst inside themselves they never have a chance of walking out with that person in their heart or in their mind…[identifying] might not be the thing that you admit to a friend but you do, I do”.
I complied artworks the embody awareness of mental illness in a place, in people, and in the common undercurrent of what supports a mentally ill mind that is often our relationships with people. I aimed to find some visual representations and languages that I could reflect in my future creative work.
“Bloom” by Anna Schuleit, used installation and sculpture to represent the memory of a mental institute due for demolishment in 2003. This created awareness for the significance of a place to one’s illness, how this in turn represents the time they were unwell and the healing they endured. The process of healing for mental illness suffers is commended in this art but such a symbol as the flower that represents life, growth and the idea of getting better.
Similarly in it’s attention the space, “Holding together” by Lisa Lindvay is an on going series situated in Lindvay’s family home that has been effected by the deterioration of her mother’s mental health. Alternative to Schuleit’s installation method, Lindvay used documentary photography to capture effects of her mother’s mental illness on the quality of life in the people and in the place they lived. There is an honest sense of hopelessness in this series that addresses the roles within the family that go out of balance with her absence. It is a validation of the grief many feel in times their loved ones suffer, hoping that they can pour all their love into that person when this only leads the abandoning of care for the outward state of their environment.
Lastly, Korean illustrator Moonassi is not overtly connected to the conversation of mental health within art, but his work does display it’s undercurrents. The artist delves with little characters who struggle with each other. The undercurrents are of the way we struggle in relationships which are ofter not recognized as being linked with mental illness.
I draw something I’d like to draw and I can draw well. I draw people because that’s what I’d like to talk about. I prefer to draw in a small scale as I wish to capture my everyday thoughts and feelings during a limited time of the day. If I think I want to touch you my drawing reflects that thought. I draw an act that I’m upsetting you if I think I want to distress you.
The reason why these ephemeral and scattered thoughts are so significant for me is that I can see myself as a tiny fraction like those thoughts, and also I’m the collection of those fractions. I’m the mundane being, a sort of dust everywhere. I’m anyone or anything in anywhere. I want to sweep and gather all those tiny little fractions on paper so as not to be scattered.