The Ghost That Lurks Behind Us

The Ghost That Lurks Behind Us

Darby Horsman, Staff Writer

Senior Jacob Whitt walks in the park, scouting out every area in order to take the perfect photo. They look to try to find the perfect lighting and scene to capture the essence of the true form of mental health. Mental health, in their project, is represented by a little bedsheet ghost with sunglasses.

Cameras, bedsheet, sunglasses and a monster energy drink in hand, Whitt grabs sophomore Ryan Dennis and explains the project that they will be working on. 

“I picked this ghost imagery because I was inspired by the lyrics from a friend’s song and using TikTok as an inspiration. The lyrics, ‘I’ve been walking around as a ghost’ helped draw inspiration due to people with depression often do not feel as if they are there but they are a ghostly figure,” Whitt said. “The ghost was just to show how depression kind of surrounds you, even though you can’t see it, exactly like a ghost lurking in the shadows. The park was used to show that you’ve grown up now and you are now not a kid anymore.”

Whitt begins Dennis’ transformation to turn into the poltergeist. After they poke and prod at the sheet, Whitt’s goal is complete as Dennis turns into the villain of the story. They use the theme of a figure following around an everyday person to create a sense of eeriness and fear. 

“I wanted to help my friend spread awareness that hits close to home in a creative way. It was honestly weird being the ghost, almost like stepping into the same skin of the mental health problems and coming to terms with it. I joined this project to get out of the house on a rainy day and thought people would read the story if the pictures were attention grabbing,” Dennis said. 

The white ghost walking around in the picture frame creates the fearful atmosphere that Whitt aimed for. 

“I chose to start this project because mental health has been such a taboo subject in recent times. I wanted and needed to shed light on the subject and show that depression doesn’t look like a person that is always gloomy, wears all black, and does not talk to anyone, but normal everyday people that may exude a happy disposition but deep down inside are struggling severely,” Whitt said.

The ghost lurks and sits in the back of the frame to seem lost, but attached to the person it is following. Whitt wanted the audience to feel this sense of vulnerability just by looking at the picture.

“The park was picked because it was to show that you are not a kid anymore. You can’t return back to a kid, and with the ghost in the park it is to show that depression just surrounds you even though you cannot see it,” Whitt said.

Depression is a neurological condition that results in a chemical imbalance causing people to feel vulnerable and stressed. It is often known as a hard topic to treat due to media portrayal. 

“The problem with how mental health is society says that if you show one symptom, you have a problem, and that thought can be very harmful. My goal is to help educate people on the actual problems and struggles that people with mental health issues deal with. When doing this project it was important that I made sure the photo was relatable to everyone and you get that eerie feeling that doesn’t go away, ” Whitt said. “My biggest takeaway from not just this photoshoot but my other projects is everyone struggles with their problems, no matter how easily they play it off.”

Whitt wants to destroy the stigma around mental health, and to do that they need to open people’s eyes to the real issues. Each day someone loses the battle to mental health, and Whitt wants to change the world by making people aware. They plan to do that with a bed sheet, sunglasses, cameras and a monster energy drink.


National Suicide Prevention Hotline