Illustrators for Mental Health

©Annie Dornan Smith.  Purchase Illustrated Affirmation print via

©Annie Dornan Smith.

Purchase Illustrated Affirmation print via

It's World Mental Health Day, and in celebration of a cause that's quite close to my heart I wanted to share something that combines two aspects of my life; illustration and mental health. 

Here are some of my favourite illustrators bringing to life how it feels some days to live with a mental health illness:

Gemma Correll

Image by Gemma Correll

Image by Gemma Correll

Fellow graduate from Norwich University of the Arts, Gemma Correll is a British illustrator, writer and comic artist living and working in California. She creates humorous and accurate depictions of what it's like to live with clinical anxiety and depression, and has even written a book entitled The Worriers Guide to Life documenting her candid and hilarious depictions of overthinking in an anxiety riddled world. 

The illustrations were all inspired by my own anxieties and neuroticisms ... I suffer from clinical anxiety and depression and I find that the best way to deal with it is to find humour in it.

I honestly think that humour can be a saviour at times of distress or, if you just live with a constant level of anxiety and depression like I do.
— Gemma Correll for Mashable

Emily Coxhead

©Emily Coxhead 

©Emily Coxhead 

This notebook is the first thing I ever came across from Emily Coxhead, photographer, illustrator and designer based in Chorley, UK. Her work is a fuel injection of positivity and warmth, particularly her creation The Happy Newspaper which she funded through Kickstarter. 

I wanted to create something that celebrated people, their kindness and recognised the magic in people we walk past and know nothing about, the ‘everyday heroes’. I realised there are so many people going through difficult times, from tiny things to humongous, life-changing things. I thought if I could help in a small way through my letters, scribbled notes and silly little drawings, I could maybe make a few people smile and remind them that things will get better.

The simple idea was: there should be a newspaper that does the opposite of all the current newspapers, one that celebrates what’s good in the world and is cool and colourful to look at.
— Emily Coxhead for Asos

María Sanoja

©María Sanoja

©María Sanoja

Brooklyn based artist María Sanoja was mindlessly walking down a street, over-thinking, when she bumped into this exact a-frame. What happened from that moment on was a project that would reveal the amazing contrast between our everyday surroundings and truly the analogue that runs through our minds. 

I was overthinking, as usual, when I bumped into this blackboard outside a café that I pass by every day. I realized that I’m often so absorbed in my own thoughts that I miss the simple, beautiful things that surround me. My overthinking often keeps me from being present.

For 100 days, I will make an effort to be here and now. I will get out of my own head to see what I have been missing. Each day, I will draw something that I notice around me, and I will pair it with whatever it is that I’m overthinking, in an attempt to be more aware and learn to let go.
— María Sanoja

Marissa Betley


Artist Marissa Betley's incredible 1 in 4 project is another 100 day illustrated project to help raise awareness of mental health issues which occur, as the project's name so aptly describes, to 1 in 4 adults in their lifetime. The artist interviewed a range of people with varying disorders that include depression and schizophrenia, describing on her website, "these people are our family members, our friends, our co-workers and our neighbours. Love and support makes all the difference."

Each story has been unique and I have been incredibly inspired by the constant thread of courageousness and bravery showcased by everyone I have interviewed ... It’s not easy to open up about these things, so I am very grateful to all who have contributed in the name of helping others.

What has been most shocking to me is the more I talk about mental health, it seems everyone can relate to the topic, yet so few are talking about it.
— Marissa Betley for The Daily Mail Online

Siobhan Gallagher 

©Siobhan Gallagher

©Siobhan Gallagher

New York based illustrator and designer Siobhan Gallagher, uses her amazing Instagram account (@siogallagher) to share her illustrations that try to de-myth the 'polished' look of the Instagram life, a world we all think is real but is truly not reality. 

We’re imperfect, scared, anxious and depressed – but we’re willing to share and relate to others ... Some social media accounts are so curated and polished to make it seem like people are living perfect lives with perfectly posed experiences and bodies, and that’s just not interesting ... I’d rather share my interior life through drawing, because those thoughts are more real and relatable.
— Siobhan Gallagher for