ink and digital color illustration of depressed teen

May is National Mental Health Awareness month.

Back in 2017 I posted this on social media for Inktober as a proof-of-concept illustration for a possible future graphic novel Extreme Dreams. However, it’s actually based on my own life.

In 1972 and the final three months of high school, unbeknownst to my classmates my “home” after school was the Montefiore Medical Center psychiatric ward in New York City. When the staff eventually deemed that I was less likely to overdose or slit my wrists I was allowed to go to school by day so I could finally graduate.

Here is my Extreme Dreams original character Johnnie Riggs spending his first night on suicide watch. Please be aware that for too many teens this is as real today as it was forty-nine years ago. If you or anyone you know have thoughts of self-harm, please call 1-800-273-8255. Speak with someone. You are not alone.