Introduction

  • Graphic Graeme Shorten Adams

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Mental illness is one of the most pervasive elements in society—not all of us have been directly affected by it, but we’ll likely all experience it in some form during our lifetime, either personally or through someone else. Its presence in our lives makes its continued stigmatization all the more harmful, and with our first-ever mental health issue we have tried to continue the conversation in an attempt to break down some of the existing barriers.

This issue is online-only because of the role that online communities can play in removing the stigma around mental illness. Online spaces provide the option of remaining anonymous, which can be hugely important when individuals discuss their experiences. Moreover, we wanted to create an immersive, multimedia space that reflects the diverse reach of the topic. Here are gathered stories, both journalistic and personal.

Such a sensitive issue is bound to be touched by controversy and disappointment—as well as innovation and compassion. As the topic comes to greater prominence in the mainstream conversation, we want to apply critical thinking to both the positive and negative ways society handles our unreliable minds. There are always reasons to hope.

—Erin Sparks, Graeme Shorten Adams & Geoffrey Vendeville, Special Issue Coordinators

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