Dr. Amy Werremeyer and Dr. Elizabeth Skoy had been researching what it was like for college students with a mental illness to live on a college campus during the years 2014-2017 (see publications) as well as researching the medication experience of college students and other adults living with mental illness (see publications). These studies all used the Photovoice method.
At the close of their Photovoice studies, Werremeyer and Skoy had a large collection of photos and their accompanying reflections from the research participants. Werremeyer and Skoy were committed to harnessing the power of the photos and reflections in a way that research participants desired.
Werremeyer and Skoy asked the research participants ‘What is the best way to share information about living with a mental illness to others on NDSU’s campus?’ Participants suggested a website to house the photographs and reflections in order to raise awareness for people who don’t have mental illness as well as to inform those who DO have mental illness that they are not alone.
In the fall of 2017, Werremeyer and Skoy partnered with Dr. Elizabeth Crawford and her students in ‘Creative Strategies (COMM 376)’ communications course at NDSU. The COMM 376 students were assigned to create a slogan, logo, and awareness/advertising campaign in a Shark Tank-like competition. Werremeyer and Skoy selected ‘SNAP the Stigma’ as the winner from 9 total campaigns pitched by the COMM 376 students. Werremeyer and Skoy selected ‘SNAP the Stigma’ as the winner from 9 total campaigns pitched by the COMM 376 students. Thus, ‘SNAP the Stigma’ was born!
SNAP the Stigma is a play on the word snap; meaning “break” the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses and also meaning “snapping” a picture in order to do so.