I designed this poster to raise awareness about the reality and seriousness of mental health, and increase viewers’ understanding of those struggling with an invisible illness. I decided upon my my target audience–viewers between the ages of 14 and 50 (with video game experience)–because this demographic is highly affected by mental health issues and has lots of contact with peers and children affected with mental illness. My goal is to help the peers, parents, and teachers of those afflicted with mental illness understand the gravity of mental illness and understand their emotional states and needs.
To emphasize the severity of mental illness and help the average person understand how someone with an invisible illness may feel, I drew an visual analogy between pixel heart “hit-points”—and the physical and psychological limitations a mentally ill person feels every day (a concept also known as “spoon theory”).
What is spoon theory?
“Spoon theory” allegedly began when a person suffering with an invisible illness used real spoons to demonstrate to their friend how a person can awake with a limited amount of energy and have those units of energy (measured in spoons) deplete and run out over the course of a day until they can no longer engage in social or strenuous activities. By likening a weakening mentally ill person to a weakening videogame avatar, I hoped to create yet another way of explaining how invisible illness feels in a way that the average person could understand and relate to on a personal level.
It is not by accident that my chosen text, “mental health is not a game”, establish a logical comparison between video-games, which are virtual and fictional, and mental illness, which can lead to physical harm, and, in extreme cases, suicide. By contrasting damage done to an avatar–which not only fails to harm us physically, but also can be reversed in a New Game–to depression–whose results are serious and potentially irreversible–I hope to convey to viewers that invisible illnesses are neither less real nor less dangerous than physical ones.
Zelda Hearts Video Game
Game Over Sign
Depressed Girl in Front of Brick Wall