We’ve launched our Anxiety is… campaign, which uses AI images to illustrate the symptoms of anxiety and aims to help people find a trained professional who can give them support.
A collection of AI art has been generated from quotes describing people’s real life anxiety symptoms.
The aim is to prompt the public to recognise and address these feelings so they don’t suffer in silence and accept them as the norm.
The stunning images have been installed near Waterloo Station in central London and shared with the media as part of our Anxiety Is... campaign, ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, the theme for which is anxiety.
You can see all 10 images on our Anxiety Is... campaign page.
We want to raise awareness of the importance of seeking qualified support from a registered counsellor or psychotherapist so that anxiety symptoms don’t become overwhelming.
Our annual Public Perceptions Survey revealed anxiety is the most common mental health problem experienced in the UK with 49% of people stating they’ve had anxiety in the last five years.
Despite this, only 26% of people say they would see a counsellor or psychotherapist to help them cope with emotional difficulties or mental health problems.
Sahara Patel was part of the focus group which provided quotes to inform the AI art. Her quote described her anxiety as ‘feeling like cling film had been wrapped tighter and tighter around my chest’.
Sahara, 29, said: “I’ve suffered with anxiety since I was a child, but it wasn’t until I was much older that I looked for support from a counsellor to help me cope with my feelings.
“Having a chance to help someone recognise their anxiety symptoms through my experience and the lens of AI art is very rewarding.
“Growing up, I had a hard time recognising my symptoms of anxiety but seeing my quote worked up as a piece of art has been cathartic. It’s captured my feelings perfectly and it’s visually striking as well.
“I hope this campaign will resonate with people and get people to seek qualified help should they need it.”
Our Chair Natalie Bailey said: “I’m sure these images will resonate with people currently living with anxiety symptoms and we hope they encourage people to seek help before these feelings become overwhelming and potentially even debilitating.
“Counselling can help people explore the cause of feelings of anxiety, understand them and suggest ways of dealings with situations.
“It’s important people seek support from a qualified therapist who is trained to offer a safe, confidential, non-judgemental place to explore and address these feelings.
Counselling changes lives
“Access to therapy is vital to help address the increasing prevalence of mental health issues in the population.
“This is why BACP has long been calling for increased investment to improve choice and access in a range of settings, such as the NHS, schools, third sector and workplaces.
“Counselling changes lives and it’s important it’s readily available to those who need it.”
Our member Anthony Davis, a psychotherapist and coach, said: “Anxiety remains the most common mental health issue in the UK and is certainly one of the most frequent issues clients come to me with.
“However, its prevalence also means it is becoming normalised and accepted as a normal experience of everyday life, so people are struggling to recognise when they are suffering with anxiety and when to get help.
“Anxiety manifests itself in different ways which is one of the reasons why it can be difficult for people to spot. It’s really important people prioritise their mental health rather than accepting common issues like anxiety as the norm.”
For more information visit www.bacp.co.uk/anxietyis
Our Anxiety is... campaign uses AI images to illustrate the symptoms of anxiety and aims to help you find a trained professional who can give you support
What is anxiety? How do you deal with anxiety or help someone with anxiety? BACP member Caz Binstead explains how counselling can help.
How to get therapy
Where and how you can get access to counselling and psychotherapy, including free and paid for services