Wellcome launches Covid-19 Anxiety Project, capturing Covid's impact on mental health

Jessie Thompson
·2-min read
Manu Brabo
Manu Brabo

From therapeutic cleaning sessions in Essex to a lonely lockdown birthday in Johannesburg, five photographers from around the world have attempted to capture the mental health repercussions of Covid-19.

The Covid-19 Anxiety Project was commissioned by the Wellcome in order to explore how the increased isolation caused by lockdown and social distancing measures has impacted mental health around the world. It is widely understood that the pandemic will take a significant toll on mental as well as physical health, with the effects already being felt in the UK.

As part of the project, each photographer was asked to address the question ‘How are you, your family, and your friends coping with anxiety related to Covid-19?’ In Brooklyn, Cait Oppermann captured her transition from quarantining in her apartment to attending the Black Live Matter protests after the death of George Floyd, while Spanish photographer Manu Brabo made his dad his subject as a way of exploring his concern for a loved one.

Hayleigh Longman, in Harlow, Essex, photographed her attempts at “productive procrastination”, using cleaning and DIY as a way of distracting herself from her worries and gave her a sense of purpose.

In Nelson, New Zealand, Tatsiana Chypsanav captured her 13-year-old daughter’s nerves at going back into the outside world after a two-month lockdown was eased, and South African photographer Lindokuhle Sobekwa took black and white images while locked down with his girlfriend and her family.

The launch of the project coincides with this year’s Wellcome Photography Prize, which opens for entries today. Entries addressing the themes of mental health, fighting infections and health in a heating world are invited from around the world, with the winner receiving £10,000. Find out more at wellcome.org/photoprize

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