Everyday, people experience a series of “downs” that are often described as feelings of depression. Heartbreak. Loss. Betrayal. These times can put you in a place that, in the moment, give the impression that you’re in a place of no return. The grieving process is natural, unique to each individual and although it may share some features of depression - it's important we learn the difference.
Depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed - and undiagnosed - mood disorders under the large umbrella of Mental Illness. The illness occurs along a continuum of mild to life threatening — some cases may be helped by a conversation with a friend or a journal entry while others may require professional intervention. Each individual experiences depression in his or her own unique way, but it’s critical we as a society are prepared to accept, recognize and act when we’re reached for.
The loudest silence is an experience intended to amplify the voices that have been kept silent for so long, through photography, literary expression and visual art. The artist sought out photography as a coping method to his depression in 2016. Specifically on this project, he extracted the emotions he struggles with and confined them to still images. The hope is that through these images, the audience can gain a better understanding of his feelings that words can’t really describe.
It’s difficult to fully comprehend what goes on behind close doors; Or what happens at home when no one is around; Or what happens in one’s head day in, day out before it’s filtered for the rest of the world. There are a number of reasons why people feel the need to use a filter. One of the most significant is the daunting stigma surrounding mental illnesses. The artist’s intention is to help people better understand the symptoms and effects of depression, channel the empathy that lies within all of us and ultimately, encourage his audience to be more understanding and accepting.
The loudest silence was created and inspired by concept of time. Time is a commodity, a privilege and is something that is often under-used and under-appreciated. Naim is convinced that patience is critical to understand the underlying message of this piece. He is also convinced that the execution of patience beyond this piece opens the door to more understanding; opens the door to more education; opens the door to more acceptance; opens the door to more empathy; opens the door to more comfort; and most importantly, opens the door to social progress. Patience is a virtue, in all aspects of life.
In Canada, only 1 of 5 youth who need mental health resources receive the help they need.
In Canada, suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth aged 15-24.
Every person is one decision away from being a statistic.
Silence was always the answer for me. I drowned my realities in shadows, with the hope that no one would catch a glimpse of what was actually going on. Stigma, fear of judgment and denial kept my tears and fears hidden in the shadows.
“The world is at my doorstep”. That’s what I used to think before all this. Even on the brightest day, the only place I knew was my bed. Sleepless nights, restless days and stuck within my own mind, instead of being out there - making something of myself.
My escape used to be at the bottom of a McDonald’s bag. I refused to look into the mirror because I had no idea who was looking back, mentally or physically. I was in constant search to find the unbroken version of myself, but he was nowhere in sight. You’ll notice this picture is in portrait orientation .. why? Depression isn’t as simple as picking yourself up, or standing up and brushing it off. The entire mirror is shattered, and so was I.
“I wanted to be alone. I didn’t want anyone to know where I was or what I was doing or what I was thinking about. But while I was hiding away, I knew I needed someone to find me. I knew I needed help, but escaping made more sense at the time.”
Think about a time you've asked for help. Think about a time you've been asked for help. Reflect on the feelings of peace and comfort you had when someone was there for you.
Millions of brothers, sisters, aunts, fathers, friends and colleagues are reaching out their hand every single day. Some may reach in the form of irritability, some may reach in the form of physical and mental sluggishness, some may reach in the form of not being able to sleep and some may reach in the form of complete withdrawal. Grab that hand. Grab that hand. Please grab that hand.
Every person is one person away from being a success story.
Creative Director, Photographer: Naim Jutha
Model: Hannah Macdonald
Contributing Artist: Makenna Kuhn