Our primary aim was to empower people living with mental illnesses in communities of the Sierra of Chiapas to speak up about their experiences. Secondly, we wanted to generate safe environments where they could engage in open conversations with peers and family members.
To this end we partnered with a local NGO, Compañeros en Salud/Partners in Health, to conduct photography workshops based on the Photovoice methodology. We recruited 21 participants from primary health clinics in four communities in rural Chiapas between April and June of 2017; 8 chose to disseminate their work anonymously and 2 chose not to disseminate it.
Each participant completed a project through which they were able to use images to express their thoughts and feelings around a theme of their choosing. This study allowed both researchers and clinicians to engage with patient perspectives to deepen their understanding of the interaction between individual patients, their illness and the health system. For the patients who were involved, the intervention served as a source of empowerment and enabled shared conversations.
(Funding: LSHTM Public Engagement Small Grant and Compañeros en Salud.)
First approach to a camera
Photographer: Camila Jurado
“This is why I get sick. I worry when my sons drink.”
Photographer: Irma Ruedas
“My hands shake when I get nervous or frightened, just like the leaves of the trees with the wind”
Photographer: Zendi Vasquez
“Dr. Montse gave me the seeds for this plant. I call it don’t forget me”
Photographer: Tenfora Mendez