School of Communication and the Arts


Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (MFA)


Stacy Cannon


Black Mental Health, Black Men, Mental Health, Stigma, Mental Health Stigma, African American Men


Art and Design | Graphic Design | Photography


Mental health and illness have become increasingly relevant concerns in contemporary society. While the collective conversation around psychological health has begun, within the black community, mental health remains taboo. Mental illness is seldom seen as affecting black people. All individuals, however, are susceptible to mental illness, especially black men of African descent. This thesis, therefore, aims to explore the everyday experiences that adversely affect the mental health of black men. Specifically, it seeks to identify the factors that contribute to this mental ill-health. To this end, it will examine the role of society, religion, and the media in stigmatizing poor mental health among black men since it is this stigma that discourages black men from receiving the support required to ensure psychological wellbeing. The accompanying creative project, meanwhile, aims to address this stigma by visually representing the ways in which these factors affect the health of African American men and discourage them from seeking the support needed to mitigate mental ill-health. It is hoped that this imagery will raise awareness and promote productive conversations about mental illness among the black community and beyond. Crucially, presenting this series in a traveling exhibition will enable the project and its message to reach a wider audience and provide a safe space in which these much-needed conversations concerning the mental health of black men can take place.