It is well documented that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year but even though so many people are affected, there is a strong social stigma attached to mental illness which often leads to discrimination. The sad fact is that this discrimination is perpetuated by society as a whole; from friends and family to employers and colleagues. It impedes recovery and contributes to social isolation.
I stitched these jackets during a really difficult time when my teenage daughter was struggling with acute mental illness. As I stitched, they created a space for us to think, talk and work things through. When worn, they were a way of making the invisible visible and like a super hero’s cloak, they made us feel powerful. The statements are about recovery and resilience, empathy and support; they make people curious and encourage questions. We hope that when we wear them we can, if only in a small way, change attitudes to mental illness and encourage kindness.
The jackets inspired the Power-Up project which you can visit here.