Graphic Psychiatry - Exploring Visual Narratives of Mental Health

deadline for submissions: 
June 19, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Ronja Tripp-Bodola, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans
contact email: 


Call for Papers, panel@ SAMLA 95, taking place on November 9-11, 2023, in Atlanta, GA



Graphic Psychiatry--Exploring Visual Narratives of Mental Health


The "Age of Insecurity"  ( made mental health a public health concern. From barriers to access to a provider shortage, from soaring suicide rates to supply chain issues that affect the availabilty of ADHD drugs, mental healthcare has become a pervasive topic that affects higher education as well. In this context, the special session sets out to rethink our approaches to ubiquitous visual narratives and iconographies of mental health. For this purpose, we will focus on “Graphic Psychiatry" which here describes a prolific subsection of Graphic Medicine: The term denotes the role that comics/graphic novels can play in healthcare; it is also a shorthand for this area of study and practice. Graphic “Medicine” (“as in the bottled panacea rather than the profession,” I. Williams) is meant to suggest therapeutic potential, both for creators and readers. Comics have been discussed in connection to the history of psychiatry, their graphic pathography or their demonization of psychiatrists, etc. By contrast, graphic novels offer additional types of knowledge. They are book-length narratives, often autobiographical “quest narratives” (A.W. Frank), that depict mental illness, suffering, trauma in their own right. Often, they provide critical insights into treatment, practices, systems and institutions. The first was a wordless novel, Lynd Ward's The Madman’s Drum, published in 1930, but there has been a proliferation of graphic novels on mental health in the past decade. Examples include Marbles, Rx, Tangles, Lighter Than My Shadow, to name but a few.

This special interdisciplinary session invites papers that explore “Graphic Psychiatry” and how it goes beyond "psychiatry as a spectacle" by discussing illness narratives, lived experiences, systemic criticism, as well as pathologies. Additionally, we welcome pedagogy papers on teaching visual narratives of mental health. By June 15, 2023, please submit an abstract of 500 words or less, a brief bio, and any A/V or scheduling requests to Ronja Tripp-Bodola, LSUHSC New Orleans, at





Ronja R. Bodola, Ph.D., M.A.


Assistant Professor – Research/Health Humanities


Director of Faculty Development, Education and Scholarly Activity


Department of Psychiatry


School of Medicine, LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans


2021 Perdido St


Room 6218


New Orleans, LA 70112


(504) 568 2544