The Design of an Illustrated Patient Education Booklet about Mental Health Services for Newcomer Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Ontario


My Master’s Research was the design and creation an illustrated patient education print booklet about mental health treatment and service literacy. The booklet is specifically designed for the needs of recent immigrant, refugee, and non-status women who are living with HIV/AIDS and are seeking treatment for mental health concerns. The materials detail what women can expect from treatment for depression, anxiety, or cognitive memory disorders from a psychiatrist or family doctor, and also how to navigate the appropriate mental health services.


New immigrant, refugee, and non-status women living with HIV and mental illness often fall through the cracks of the Canadian HIV/AIDS service network. Depressive symptoms are particularly dangerous when untreated in patients living with HIV because depression has been shown to lead to a greater risk of disease progression, and non-adherence to anti-retroviral treatment. Many do not continue with psychiatric treatment because it does not meet their expectations.Also, when patients do not understand their current treatment they are less likely to believe it will be effective and manageable

The goal of this project is to build patients’ capacity to make mental health treatment decisions, and to provide patients with clear expectations of treatment.

The final booklet, entitled Taking Care of My Body and Mind: a guide for women living with HIV, was the winner of the 2014 Association of Medical Illustrators Salon Award of Excellence in the student category: Advertising and Marketing/Promotional.

Click here to view sample pages about HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders.

Click here to view sample pages about the Biopsychosocial treatment of mental health.

Click here to read a research poster presentation created for the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) annual meeting.