One in four people in Sweden will have personal experiences with mental illness in their lives according to Fountain House, an international mental health charity. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 450 million people worldwide currently suffer from some form of mental or neurological disorder which makes mental illness one of the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide.
Mental illness affects people in all walks of life, regardless of gender, race, age or social status. Unlike other medical conditions, however, mental illness is not usually something that is visible on a person's face and can be a debilitating source of stigma for sufferers. Fountain House allows its 'members – men and women recovering from mental illness – to volunteer their time to help operate the organisation in exchange for the chance to gain skills, access opportunities, and make friends'. The organisation aims to help people who have suffered or are suffering from mental illness to get back into society and overcome the hurdles that can appear in their way.
Jan Johannessen worked with Fountain House on this photographic project to dispel assumptions and common prejudices about mental health by producing a set of 40 portraits of ordinary Swedes. 30 of them have experienced mental health issues in their lives,. Is there any way of telling who they are?