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Images in Psychiatry   |    
Mary Mitchell
Michael D. Roy
Am J Psychiatry 2006;163:789-789. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.163.5.789

In this space, the Journal has featured many of the pioneers in the field—individuals and institutions that provided crucial contributions to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.

In this issue, coinciding with both Mental Health Month and the APA’s annual meeting, we wanted to feature a representative from the other side of the treatment equation who, in some respects, is also a pioneer.

Presented are works by Mary Mitchell that appeared in an exhibit titled “Episodic Drawings.” These drawings were rendered while she was hospitalized with an acute episode of schizophrenia at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in 1979. For the exhibit, these images were accompanied by her thoughts upon reviewing the drawings in 2002:

“The drawings are generally attempts at realism yet appear as naive representations. The topics therein are studies of the stark, simple environment of a mental ward. They are products of my perceptions and altered mental state at that time. Looking at them in retrospect, I can see their distortion and sedate mood. I can now recognize them as a stage in the history of my artistic endeavors and, finally, a graphic record of my mental illness.”

For years, individuals with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, were looking at a lifetime of hospitalization. At present, new treatment options have brought patients like Mary into new territories of outpatient treatment and insight.

+ Mr. Roy is the Editorial Manager of the Journal. Address correspondence and reprint requests to The American Journal of Psychiatry, 1000 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1825, Arlington, VA 22209-3901; ajp@psych.org (e-mail).

 
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