Mental Illness is something that affects millions of teenagers across the globe. Often there are layers of complexity and a feeling of loneliness that comes with suffering from such a disease. However, often a lot of teenagers are looked down upon or told that their illness is not valid or is simply just a phase. This is in large part due to the fact that there is still a ridiculous amount of stigma around mental illness. I have watched a lot of friends struggle with some sort of mental illness, and I have struggled with mental health myself.
I was ultimately inspired to create this photo series by the loss of my classmate's brother. He struggled with bipolar and schizophrenia disorder. He was an incredibly talented and outgoing individual, and many people were unaware that he was sick. It reminded me that there often is no cure for mental illness, and that people who struggle with it don't always show their internal fight to survive.
In this photo series, I wanted to visually show moments of silence and moments of complete chaos. There are photos that portray the model as pensive and alone and in her own world. Then there are photos that depict the model as out of control, almost as if she is trying to escape from her own body. These photos contradict one another, showing that, though a lot of mental illnesses can not be seen on the outside, there is a whole world of thoughts and obstacles which a person must face from within.
In embarking on this photo series, I think partially I wanted to make something that looked tangible. It's hard enough to struggle with mental health, and it's often even harder to explain to someone else how you feel. I hope this series shows other teens that they are not alone, and that their feelings and their struggles with mental health are real and valid.
Ting Ting Chen