There are certain topics that are harder to talk about than others. There are things that people choose to ignore because it’s easier than trying to talk about it. Mental health has always been one of those things.
ODU artists Lynn and Geist recently released a series on self harm. Titled “.Skin,” the series shines a light on depression. Lynn has suffered from depression and anxiety since she was in fifth grade because of pressure from school.
Geist is studying communications and sociology at ODU, Lynn is studying art. Both have worked together as artists before.
“Geist is my best friend a huge inspiration to me,” Lynn said. “Being able to work with him is a big deal to me, because he’s so particular with who he works with. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to do this shoot but him. It wouldn’t have felt right to me. I would’ve have been able to this whole series without him.”
Since mental health tends to be taboo in most households. It’s a hard topic to discuss at the dinner table. Since Lynn has suffered from it herself, she and Geist had hoped to normalize it.
The photos have Lynn marked in sharpie wherever she had thought about cutting or burning herself. For both Geist and Lynn it quickly sunk in how emotional the series would be.
According to Mental Health America, the most common form of self harm is cutting and burning is the third most common form. Studies show that college students are at an even higher risk of self harm with rates ranging from 17 percent to 35 percent.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that 18 percent of American adults suffer from anxiety and three to five percent of adults suffer from depression. With literally millions of Americans suffering, society should be more aware of the dangers of the diseases. Unfortunately, much of it goes untreated or unnoticed.
Geist and Lynn wanted to bring attention to mental health. They were able to take something that’s hard to talk about, and make it into art. Photographed in a makeshift station in Geists’ dorm room, the duo put together “.Skin.”
The photo series depicts Lynn in various positions with the marks on her skin. The series is complete with a poem written by Lynn.It’s a brutally honest representation on what goes through many adult minds. The sucess the pair have had only shows how supportive the ODU community can be.
“This series has changed my life. I have had so much positive feedback from so many people,” Lynn said. “I really feel like I’m making a difference, even if it’s small. But this is just the start.”
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 or text “CONNECT” to 741741 for a free chat service.