Harini Rajagopalan is a freelance illustrator from Bangalore, and when the popular 36 Days Of Type challenge started floating around, she decided to use the typography project to talk about something very close to her heart – mental health.

Having struggled with mental health herself, Harini says that she’d never talked about it openly until then. The resulting pieces of art are simple, evocative, and brilliant. Check them out below!

“It was a really impulsive decision. When the 36 Days Of Type project started, I never thought that I’d actually do it. But I just happened to come up with A is for Anxiety, and I just went ahead with it. I don’t think I really knew that I would stick to mental health until I got to B,” says the illustrator.

The project started out as something Harini wanted to do for herself. “I didn’t go ahead with it because I felt like I needed it as some kind of catharsis, but it was something that was close to me, and something that I felt I still needed to understand. I began with really personal stories, things that happened to me because I was doing it only for myself.”

“The idea for “I” came to me very suddenly, and it really made me push myself,” said Harini of the “Invisibility” gif.

‘L’ was something that was very personal to Harini and her mental health journey – loneliness.

‘P’, for pain, is the illustrator’s favourite – again, being a deeply personal part of her journey with mental health. “When I was thinking of each letter at the very beginning of the challenge, I knew P had to be for pain. It was something very personal to my story, and I knew it had to be expressed. I was really happy with the way the illustration turned out. I felt like I had conveyed the message well.”

P is for Pain. Mental health issues cause both mental and physical pain. One can't underestimate the amount of physical pain that a depressed person might experience. It's not easy for someone going through a panic attack to explain just how much that physically affects them. Physical pain is always the first sign for me that things are getting out of control. I endured an excruciating headache for close to 10 days before I realised that it was related to my mental health. So don't ignore the possibility that your physical pain could be related to your mental pain. . . . . . . #36daysoftype #36days_p #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #blackandwhite #pain #psychosomatic #watercolor #watercolours #micron #pitt #pittpens #fabercastell #illustrator #illustration #instaart #instaartist #instaillustration

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“S was nerve wracking for me, but I’m glad I did it. Self-harm is not easy to talk about, and it’s hushed up a lot. I’m glad I went through with it,” said Harini.

Harini says that the response she got was very encouraging. Although the things that she was talking about seemed really basic to her, a lot of people wrote in to her saying that their art really resonated with them, and helped them understand mental health better, or helped them with their own mental health. “I think that might have been the best part,” she says.

With the number of people that wrote in with kind words and positivity after this series, Harini has decided to take it a step forward and publish the series as a book! You can find more details on that, as well as the rest of this marvellous series on her Instagram page. You can also follow her art on her Tumblr blog and her website.

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