What started as a school project ended up becoming a gripping collection of photos capturing what mental disorders can feel like.
Christian Sampson, a 21-year-old photographer from Peru, Indiana started taking photos around the theme of mental illness in 2014 for an advanced photography class.
"[The collection] actually started out as physical illnesses like cancer, but I wanted to create something that people struggled with every day but couldn't see," he tells The Huffington Post Canada. "I wanted the majority of people to relate to them."
With limited resources, Sampson asked his friends to be his models and researched some of the most common mental disorders around the world. His work brought him down to 12 smaller topics, ranging from depression to schizophrenia to insomnia. In eight weeks, Sampson designed and photographed each shot, making sure his version of each disorder was accurate.
"These were touchy subjects so I did rigorous research to make sure I depicted it accurately," he says.
On Wednesday, Canadians on social media are encouraged to taker part in Bell Let's Talk Day — an awareness campaign that aims to bring mental health into the spotlight. While this is one day to tweet, post and talk openly about some of these disorders, it is of course a reality people live with every single day. In fact, 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental health or addiction problem in any given year, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health reports.
"Just because it can't be seen, it doesn't mean damage can't be done," Sampson says. "That's why the series is so dark, because I want to make the point that people suffer from this."
Sampson has created a Facebook album with his collection titled, "A Visual Depiction of Mental Disorders," and makes prints as well. He also plans on doing more work around the theme and regularly asks his followers for feedback and ideas.
"Mental health is an important topic for me because I have people in my life that live with it every day."
Below, Sampson has shared his collection with us. Check out the photos and follow his work here.
Are you in crisis? Need help? In Canada, find links and numbers to 24-hour suicide crisis lines in your province here.