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About PhotoVoice

Voicing Our Individual and Collective Experience is a reprisal of COVA’s 2009 art and advocacy project. COVA empowered eight participants each with a camera, a little bit of guidance and a great deal of freedom to document their personal struggles with mental health issues and stigmas, and their persistence and hope on their roads to recovery.

Participants attended 10 weeks of hands-on classes at COVA, during which they learned how to use their digital cameras, were introduced to various photography techniques, and discussed what they wanted their art to convey. With the guidance of the instructors, they selected their final images and wrote their narratives, hoping to give others a snapshot of their mental health battles — and of their paths to recovery.

Voicing Our Individual and Collective Experience is based on the international PhotoVoice concept of using photo essays to promote social change and to break down stigmas — especially around mental illness.


About the Instructors

Amy Beavis

Amy, currently with the Ohio Rehabilitation Services Commission, is a licensed social worker and worked with COVA as a career developer, helping our participants prepare for, find and keep employment and other needs. She has her master’s degree in social work from The Ohio State University.


Tom Etter
Tom has more than 30 years of experience in the world of photography that includes commercial, art, fashion and teaching. His services and work can be found on Etter Photography’s website at


About PhotoVoice

This project would not be possible without the support of the following organizations and individuals: