Recently, in reading an article pointing out a Data Visualization error 1, I came across a chart that compared the amount collected through social media’s Ice Bucket Challenge to the amounts collected for other “diseases that kill us”.
This chart stayed with me for two reasons:
First, it demonstrates how easy it is to produce a chart that completely misrepresents data. For example, in my data table below, two out of three of the data points are equal each year. In the chart I selected, although the length of each bar is correct, the volume makes it appear as though one data point is larger than the other.
The second and more important reason the chart stayed with me, was because Suicide was included in the list of deadly diseases. Suicide prevention’s typical fundraising walk, was ranked at the very bottom for charitable donations.
Perhaps the data and the charts do not represent fundraising activity as well as they should. Yet I know that when someone is depressed or battling a mental illness, there is very little support available, and even less understanding.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Perhaps you know somebody who is recovering from an addiction, who has struggled with depression, or who is battling a mental illness. Please, for their sake, consider making a donation to mental health research.
1) The article that had the error in it, which has since been corrected was released at Vox.com.