Intersection of Disability and Mental Health on Display at USU

By JoLynne Lyon | September 27, 2023
a small section of four photos from exhibition

Beginning September 29, people with disabilities who have sought out mental health services will share their experiences via photos. The Seeking Mental Health Services as an Adult with a Disability exhibition runs from the evening of September 29 to October 27, 2023 in the Lyndsley Wilkerson Gallery in the Sorenson Center for Clinical Excellence at Utah State University.

This PhotoVoice project is qualitative research. That said, “it presents the information a little differently,” said Rachel Byers, the project’s coordinator at the Institute for Disability Research, Policy & Practice. “It connected us to the research better than sitting down with people … and never seeing them again.”

Participants were given training in photo ethics, then provided with a prompt. They took photos to go along with it. Then they were interviewed individually and in a group, where they presented their work and talked about the issues behind the pictures.

“I had one person who kept saying, ‘I’m not an artist.’ And I said, ‘You don’t have to be,’” Byers said. The point of the project was to use visual media to express feelings and start conversations.

The PhotoVoice research method has been around for decades, but is becoming more common as an inclusive approach to working with people with disabilities, she said.  

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