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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Global Media Representations of Mental Health/Illness

About the Project

In an age of unprecedented global distress, what is the role of media in shaping discourses, representations, and experiences of mental illness? Western media narratives have extraordinary global reach, and when combined with the growing incorporation of psychiatry into multilateral health organizations, Western frameworks and treatments are increasingly defining mental health/illness. What other narratives of mental health might be told? What experiences of distress and resilience are obscured by these dominant frameworks? Remaking Media and Mental Health Across Cultures is a research-driven, interdisciplinary project that seeks to wield the transgressive power of visual storytelling to reimagine representations of mental illness.

Group Members


  • David Tolchinsky, Radio/Television/Film, School of Communication
  • Rebecca Seligman, Anthropology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences
  • Peter Locke, Global Health Studies, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences

Group members:

  • AJ Christian, Communication Studies, School of Communication; founder, Open TV
  • Erin Courtney, Radio/TV/Film, School of Communication; playwright/screenwriter
  • Katherine Erskine, graduate assistant and PhD candidate, Screen Cultures, School of Communication