This process statement describes my Honors thesis, which consists of three short stories with characters who each deal with severe mental illness, along with this process statement. Mental illness affects one in every five people in the United States at any given time (NAMI, n.d.). While mental illness is extremely prevalent, there is stigma against it, which has dramatic implications on quality of life for those with mental illness. Research has shown, however, that media can serve as an active intervention in decreasing that stigma. The purpose of this project is that my short stories may lead to decreased stigma among their audience. Severe mental illness includes an additional component of functional impairment, which I wanted to incorporate into my project, as it is highly stigmatized and misunderstood. Each story deals with a different severe mental illness (peripartum depression with psychotic features in “In Heat,” bipolar I disorder in “Tabula Rasa,” and panic disorder in “Outside”). The characters within these stories are sympathetic, complex, rounded portrayals of people who struggle with mental illnesses. I describe the premise of each story, the mental illness each character deals with and how it impacts her life, and describe my revision process for each story. I also discuss implications and future directions for this project.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 2017


Carter Sickels

Mentor Professional Affiliation

English and Theatre

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level




Department Name when Degree Awarded

English and Theatre