Mental wellbeing doesn’t have “a look” and neither does mental illness. When people struggle with mental health issues, they don’t suddenly change their appearance or everyday activities; they’re trying to live their lives, going to work or school, raising families. That means that any stock photo could work in a mental health campaign. But are all stock images safe to use?

That depends on a few things like the image style (photo vs. illustration), the license type of the image (rights-managed vs. royalty-free), the model release for that image, the agency representing the image and the nuances of the project. Each stock agency has their own terms and conditions of use and for most stock photo agencies, mental conditions are considered a “sensitive issue”. Unfortunately, even though we’ve made big breakthroughs in the past few years, there is still stigma surrounding mental illness. Stock agencies are cautious out of concern that a model could bring a claim for defamation based on creating a visual link between the model and a mental illness. The terms of use, model releases and sensitive issue releases are all designed to protect the end user, the buyer and the stock agency from lawsuits. Always reach out to your sales team for guidance.

Read more in our blog or check out the images below.