A young man with bipolar disorder created this image during a support group focused on personal recovery from mental illness. It enabled him to express his feelings of isolation in a way he described as deeply meaningful and far beyond what he could communicate with words.
At Manitou Experience, a weeklong overnight camp for boys 8-16 who have experienced the death of a family member, a camper created this image to express his feelings of grief from the death of his sister.
EDI has been integrated into Manitou Experience, a summer camp for boys who have experienced the death of a parent or sibling. Through the dramatic use of color, this image expresses one boy's personal journey finding connection with those who share the common bond of loss.
"By making this image and portraying the barrier between myself and my world, it just helped me to see that I’m not in that space anymore. And it gave a place for that to be in my heart; that that’s where I was, and it was real."
"...What I was trying to convey was the experience of being in the dark and the feeling of everything being so heavy and dark, and all of a sudden noticing color again. I love sharpie markers, I’m a color person, and so for me it was as if everything had been in black permanent shade for a long time."
A patient at McLean Hospital created this image from a simple photograph of crumpled phone cords. She explained how this image, more than any other way she is able to communicate, expresses how her mind feels during manic cycles of her bipolar disorder.
An inpatient at McLean Hospital took an ordinary photograph of her sandals and transformed it into a very different and dramatic image. The image and caption convey a personal mantra that helps her as she navigates through the challenges of her recovery from mental illness.
This image was created by a patient at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to powerfully convey aspects of his personal journey. In his words: “I was trying to show a hollow man on a journey back to wholeness… The man standing and looking across represents that there is still some distance to go; but, he is prepared for the challenge.”
Sadie Rose is a 14-year-old girl who has suffered from a condition causing severe pain her entire life, at times unable to yawn, stretch, laugh, sneeze, or walk. She describes herself as often “paralyzed with pain.” This image expresses how Sadie Rose feels when she is awake but scared to move her body because of the pain she will experience. The black lines convey her nerve pain which she says is “like a deep scratching feeling as my body awakes.”
This image was created by a 9-year-old boy at Jeff’s Place, a leading bereavement support organization for children and families. It allowed the boy to express his grief in response to the prompt: “What does it feel like to be a boy whose father has died?”
This image was created by a young woman being treated in a psychiatric inpatient unit at McLean Hospital. In her words: "My inspiration for this image was to show how I've been feeling as of late. I've either felt like a dark, hostile version of myself, or like an extremely faint and blurred image of my former self. Both versions were unrecognizable to me." The patient has since been discharged, and her clinician reports that she is progressing well in recovery.
This image was created by a woman who serves as a Survivor Mentor at My Life My Choice, a renowned organization supporting youth who are survivors of sexual exploitation and commercial sex trafficking. In sharing her image with a group of other mentors, she expressed how her image conveys her firm belief in the importance of young people having options in life.
A clinical director at a psychiatric hospital, created this image to represent the fear and uncertainty that patients frequently feel when being admitted. The image began as a photograph of the entrance that patients first see when arriving by ambulance.
A Veteran at the VA Hospital in Brockton created this image to express the trauma he experienced as a child at the hands of his father. Through his image, he was able to openly share his experiences with peers and clinicians in a therapeutic group.
"...When I became sick, I had to leave my family, and I was cut off from them. So I took this photo of a family dinner, and I slashed through it, I made the figures unreal to me, and distant, and that really portrayed how I was feeling at the time."
This moving image was created by Robin, a woman in recovery from addiction. In Robin’s words: “I chose vibrant colors to express my personality... I am not like the 92% of the people on this planet who do not have an addiction. I am not lost; just different, and I am finally OK with that.”
These images were created at the Massachusetts General Hospital Aspire program for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The images allowed one Aspire participant to openly convey his feelings in an easy and comfortable way, enhancing the therapeutic treatment provided by his counselors.
During a walk on the beach, a U.S. Veteran spontaneously created this image to express deeply moving feelings related to his challenges with bipolar disorder. This image is part of a larger collection of EDI images this Veteran has been sharing with VA hospital clinicians to help convey his experiences and his journey toward recovery.
A woman at a homeless shelter created this image during a workshop on the theme of “Resilience.” She found comfort sharing her image with the other women, expressing her resolve to remain strong despite the chaos in her life.
This image was created by a McLean Hospital patient recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In his words: “Bipolar disorder is a disease not a character flaw. As those with the disorder are well aware, our brains work differently…not better or worse, just different.”
During a therapeutic group at the VA, a clinician created this image expressing the resilience she witnesses among the Veterans she works with. Sharing this image alongside participants helped her to connect with them on a deeper level.
This image, which began as a photograph of strawberries, was transformed into an abstract expression of the confusion a woman felt after being diagnosed with mental illness. Her image facilitated deep connection and support from members of a therapeutic group.
"This image expresses a feeling that I have when I'm entering into a depressive episode, and I'm not able to read, I'm not able to concentrate, things kind of go out of focus in a way... I'm not only overwhelmed by that, I'm overwhelmed by everything that's happening in my life."
This image was created by a survivor mentor at My Life My Choice, an organization committed to preventing the commercial sexual exploitation of adolescents through survivor-led programs. Her image expresses personal resilience, and is helping her share her important message with other trafficking survivors in a visually powerful way.
A woman who has been challenged with Lyme disease for years and unable to work created two images from the same starting photograph. She shared these images during a support group at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, explaining that they expressed aspects of her illness that were difficult to describe with words.
This image was created and shared during a recovery group at Gosnold on Cape Cod, a leading provider of addiction treatment services. The image reflects one patient's commitment to remain clean and sober.
Gosnold on Cape Cod, a leading provider of addiction treatment services, has led the nation in the integration of EDI into evidence-based therapeutic programs for substance use disorders. This image expresses one patient's resilience and commitment to remain in recovery, reinforcing coping strategies she learned during treatment.
This image, created by a teenage boy who had experienced the death of a family member, portrays the feelings he shows outwardly and those he experiences within. It was created during a therapeutic group at Manitou Experience, a summer program for bereaved boys. This boy and his family gave permission to share his image as a demonstration of the power of EDI.
The North Shore Medical Center (NSMC), consistently ranked one of the top hospitals in the Boston Metro Area, is integrating EDI into its renowned Child and Adolescent Psychiatry programs. This image was created by an NSMC clinician during an EDI training and team building program as an expression of the resilience she frequently observes in her patients.
At Gosnold's Emerson House, a residential addiction program for women, EDI has been integrated into multiple therapeutic programs for patients. This particular image expresses one woman's commitment to her recovery - a path she knows is difficult but worth the struggle.
EDI is being integrated into therapeutic programs at My Life My Choice, a groundbreaking, nationally recognized survivor-led organization working to stem the tide of commercial sexual exploitation of adolescents. This image, created by a sex trafficking survivor, expresses her personal determination to "climb" to a new place in life.
At Gosnold residential treatment centers, patients participating in EDI recovery groups share deep and personal experiences with the challenges of overcoming addiction. This image reflects a common theme among patients, the frequency of relapse, and the notion of a "revolving door" in and out of treatment.
A young woman created this image during a community support group. The image enabled her to express how she felt during some of her most difficult times with mental illness - as if her world was literally "upside down." Sharing this image enabled her to find connection and validation from her peers, who could relate closely with her depiction.
A woman in recovery created this image in a therapeutic group to express her most challenging experiences with addiction. Her peers connected deeply with the image, with the words "I felt that way, too." echoing throughout the room. The result was a level of support and engagement that went far beyond what normally occurs in traditional talk-based groups.
A young woman with an eating disorder created this image to reflect the importance of acceptance and commitment in treatment. She used EDI throughout her treatment, and this image represents a major step forward in her recovery journey.
A young man shared this image during a therapeutic group at a residential addiction treatment center. It reflects his personal recovery in a very meaningful way. By transforming a simple photograph of cup filled with water and lemons, he created an image enabling him to express to his peers and clinicians the many "bittersweet" aspects of his journey.
This woman’s image expresses the deep gratitude she feels for the support she has received from fellow participants in a mental health recovery group. She explained that the sharing of imagery through EDI has enabled connection with peers that has helped her feel free from stigma.
A patient in a residential addiction treatment center created this image to express his struggles with substance use disorder to his clinician and peers. He continued to create images throughout his therapy, enabling him to share feelings in ways that helped promote his treatment and ongoing recovery.
A young man with depression created this image during a recovery support group for mental illness. He started with a copyright-free photograph found online, and transformed it into a powerful image expressing the isolation he often feels, even when surrounded by other people.
A veteran with bipolar disorder created this image to express his resilience when faced with the challenges of mania and depression. He was introduced to EDI through the NAMI Peer-to-Peer program, and now creates imagery each day in support of his ongoing recovery.
A young mother created this image to express how her resilience has enabled her to cope with mental illness, which she has struggled with for many years. She shared her image during a therapeutic inpatient group, receiving support from her peers as part of her healing process.
Patients at Gosnold on Cape Cod often create images throughout their treatment to reflect on the stages of their recovery. A man created this image at the beginning of his stay to express the dark place where he began.
A sex trafficking survivor created this image during a workshop on “resilience” at My Life My Choice, an organization committed to preventing sexual exploitation of adolescents. The young woman explained that her definition of resilience is coming out of dark times and creating a new life.
Following the death of her husband, a mother created this image during a bereavement support family meeting. She shared the image with her children to convey the importance of love and hopefulness in order to stay strong as a family.
At Aspire, a day camp program for children with autism spectrum disorder, campers are using EDI to express their feelings in new ways. A young girl created this image, which allowed her to convey the joy that she has found while at camp.
During a bereavement support group, a young boy created this image to express how he has coped with his sadness following the death of his family member. The image shares the importance of hanging on during tougher times and knowing that better days will come.
This image was created by a survivor mentor at My Life My Choice, an organization committed to preventing the commercial sexual exploitation of adolescents. The image conveys the importance of hope and believing in new beginnings.
A NAMI Mass Peer-to-Peer participant created this image to express complex feelings and experiences. She shared the image with her peers, enabling levels of connection often not possible through language.
This image was created by a patient at the Child Psychiatry Program at North Shore Medical Center who has long struggled with depression and fears that she will never experience happiness. The image is a moving expression of her commitment to remain patient and hopeful as she copes with the uncertainty of her illness.