Photo Essay: A Day in the Life with Mental Illness

One in five Americans lives with a mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), yet there is often a lack of empathy found in discussions surrounding these life-altering ailments. There can be too much emphasis on diagnostic labels instead of putting each person as an individual first.  Dionne Mobley, 49, loves to cook, sing, go to church, and is the full-time caretaker of her mother. She also has been living with schizoaffective disorder since she was diagnosed 27 years ago. Here is a glimpse into what a day in the life is like for Mobley as an individual who also lives with a mental illness.

Mobley finds cooking cathartic and on this particular Tuesday evening, she made omelets for her mother, sister, and self at her home in Central Brooklyn.


After taking a quiet moment for prayer, Mobley eats around 7pm to enjoy the meal she has prepared.
Once done eating, Mobley takes time to clean up the kitchen from her cooking.
At 7:30pm an alarm goes off, reminding Mobley she needs to take her medication. She pulls a pill container out of a kitchen cabinet and swallows her meds with a mug full of water.
A classroom full of young adults sits ready to engage with a presentation put on by NAMI-NYC at the Sunset Park location of the Chinese American Planning Council on Wednesday, which features Mobley and one other presenter. NAMI-NYC is an affiliate program of NAMI for the New York City Metro area.
In Mobley’s presentation, part of NAMI-NYC’s “In Our Own Voice” series, she talks to students about her love of hugs, as shown, but then proceeds to share how she lives with schizoaffective disorder.
Students of the Chinese American Planning Council watch a video created by NAMI to educate on mental illness.
Mobley’s presentation concludes with her passing out flyers offering mental health resources through NAMI-NYC.


To learn more about Dionne Mobley, view her NAMI-NYC Changing Lives story

For more on NAMI-NYC click here and their In Our Own Voice series can be found here

All photos © Darcey Pittman 2018

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