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Meryem Clarke

Linguistics, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Investigating the effects, and most effective use, of metaphors for depression in mental health support.

Mental illness is extremely challenging to discuss without the aid of figurative language due to its inherent focus on emotional, personal and, abstract mental states, making metaphor a valuable linguistic resource in healthcare. This project aims to improve mental health support through the use of metaphor, both by exploring and promoting the diversity of metaphors available in depression discourse, and testing the effects and potential usefulness of applying metaphors to reframe depression.

Research Area

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Linguistics


  • Presented at the 16th Researching and Applying Metaphor (RaAM) - Summer 2023

Other Research Interests

  • Representation, diagnosis, and long-term support of those experiencing mental illness and/or neurodivergent conditions
  • Neurodiversity, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Recognising and addressing the language of emotional/psychological abuse
  • Embodied and cultural experiences and how they affect language, communication, and metaphorical thinking
  • The use of entertainment and gaming media in shaping and diversifying perspectives, encouraging healthy social engagement, and other such ways of generally supporting people's wellbeing
  • Contructing and negotiating identity in role-playing spaces, especially with potential for helping to reconcile real-world identity issues or achieve therapeutic effects
  • Studying metaphors in unconventional or lesser-investigated creative spaces and media to gain insight into experiences of diverse thinking and/or illness