To combat the ever growing silence surrounding mental health struggles like depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, artist Patrick Smith chose a simple path. Draw them. His series of minimalist posters capture the essence of various personal afflictions, translating everyday conflict and pain into simple shapes and colors.
The resulting images attempt to capture a clear depiction of the experience of mental conditions without using a single word, translating the perceived darkness of disorder into something concrete and potentially manageable, particularly for the untrained viewer.
"Mental health issues are often, even in this day, still a taboo. I wanted to create a series of posters that would appeal to the design community -- those with strong voices in the digital world," Smith explained via email. "Those that would tweet, like or pin. If I could start a dialogue with some then that would seed further discussions with others. It worked."
Smith's images try to harness the essence of extremely complex conditions. In the OCD poster, for example, Smith depicts rows upon rows of rigid white boxes, with a single box left askew. The viewer may feel physically on edge in the face of this lone angled box, left with but a taste of what it feels like to face OCD on a regular basis.
Smith explained that some critics have accused his images of oversimplifying their subject matter. Yet even negative critiques are a step in the right direction, according to Smith. The main goal of the project was always to break the silence surrounding these afflictions. "Right or wrong, it created a lot of conversations. Exactly what I wanted."