When you hear the words “mental health” or “mental illness” what springs to mind? Images of characters on TV, in movies, or around your local community who are labelled “odd” “mad” or “crazy”? Grim and gloomy scenes of individuals too sad or paranoid to function? It is likely that these stigmatising images and concepts come from what we learn in our society and what we teach our children.
There’s no denying that mental illness can lead to withdrawal, suffering, and difficulties fitting into society. But what about the other side of mental illness – the colourful, compassionate, and courageous side that drives individuals to create something beautiful out of something that can feel incredibly ugly at times.
There is a great chance that your favourite band, singer or artist’s work is a product of mental illness. Consider van Gogh, Lady Gaga, J.K. Rowling, Ruby Rose; there are countless others. But it’s not just famous faces, who channel their pain into something positive; many of our local residents have found ways of using their experience of mental illness to mentor and support others, to make music, to produce inspiring artworks, and to engage in captivating performances.
Yesterday was World Mental Health Day and the theme was “Do You See What I See?”, which aims to challenge perceptions about mental illness in Australia. This week, we are playing our part in changing the stigma; we are highlighting the positives and the creativity that can stem from mental illness.
Illuminate: an art exhibition for mental health
Tomorrow evening (Thursday, 12th October, from 6-9pm), we invite you as members of our local community to join us at Illuminate; an art exhibition celebrating the beautiful and creative side of mental illness. It is our hope that events such as this can help to promote conversations about mental health that help to change negative perspectives and make it easier for Australians to talk about mental health, and ultimately seek the help they need.
Where: Moving Mountains Gallery, 193 Crown St, Wollongong
When: Thursday 12th October 2017, 6pm-9pm
Grab your Eat Street bites and wander the gallery!
We look forward to having you join us there to help us change perspectives on mental health.
Seek further help
If you are struggling to cope, or feel your mental health could be better, do not hesitate to seek professional help:
· For immediate crisis support or just someone to talk to call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
· To make an appointment with one of our experienced psychologists in Woonona/Bulli or Wollongong call Marsden Clinical Psychology on 0411 542 624.