Living With: T-Shirts promote mental health awareness

Words – Matt Kennedy 

Living With: is a T-shirt campaign created by Brooklyn-based Dani Balenson, a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. What began as a school project has expanded into the real world, destigmatising, promoting awareness of and raising funds for bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHS) and depression.

“Each shirt in the initial Living With: collection,” writes Balenson, “has a design that was developed based on the common behavioural patterns of a specific mental disorder… The meaning behind each design in this series can be broken down to colour, module and pattern.”

The designs include colour palettes of dark violet and luminous blue to represent the extreme highs and lows that a person living with bipolar cycles between, with shapes that embody the mental shifts from good moods to bad, known as ‘the drop’. Depression is represented by monochromatic purples that imply an immutable downward trajectory and the impression of great weight.

ADHD is represented  by busy formations and bright hues of green and yellow that embody the hyperactivity and distraction characteristic of the mental illness. OCD manifests as a set of rigid and precisely arranged grids coloured yellow to reflect stress, anxiety and alertness.

“Living With: was founded to celebrate the millions of individuals across the nation who are living with mental disorders. Our mission is to encourage self-acceptance, change perceptions and support new conversations about mental health,” explains Balenson.

“For my degree project, I was interested in utilising design as a vehicle for a positive change in mindset, specifically for individuals living with mental disorders. Living With: is a line of T-shirts and interactive media that empowers the wearer’s relationship with their disorder through positive action and a small change in language.”

Two dollars from every T-shirt sold will be donated to Active Minds, a not-for-profit organisation committed to advancing the perception and understanding of mental illness on US college campuses. Visit Living With: for more information, or visit Balenson’s website to learn more about the designer.

LIving With: OCD

LIving With: OCD

Living With: Bipolar Disorder

Living With: Bipolar Disorder

Living With: ADHD

Living With: ADHD

Living With: Depression

Living With: Depression

 

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  • LIving With: OCD
  • Living With: Bipolar Disorder
  • Living With: ADHD
  • Living With: Depression

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