People with chronic mental illnesses are suffering, not only from their illness but also from society’s stigmatization. Society rejects people who do not meet social norms, especially those who are not only abnormal but those who were also referred to as “insane” for centuries. Moreover, psychology and psychoanalysis studies aggravated this stigmatization. This approach led to rejection and isolation.

This is the main theme in my interviews with people inside and outside of the hospital. I came across a new method of helping treat chronic mental illnesses that originated in Finland, “Open Dialogue”. Surprisingly, this method doesn’t focus on the patient, but more on their family and the overall context. I tried to give a voice to the patients, to the art therapists, and to the psychoanalyst, by interviewing them. I collected their isolation stories in a way that highlighted their situation and created a sense of solidarity. I visited the “Living Museums” in Wil and Lyss, in Switzerland, to see how they are fighting against isolation.

Photos by: Marie Antoinette Chiarenza