For as long as I can remember I have lived with Obsessive Compulsive disorder. Anyone living with this condition knows how hard it can be to deal with everyday situations and spiralling thought processes.
When I was younger it was more difficult to talk about my mental health, as I didn’t really know what I was going through and there was a lot of fear about the future. This is why I feel that talking about mental health is so important to the future of mental health awareness:
- discussion means a wider understanding.
- a wider understanding means less fear and reduced discrimination.
Art for me has always been the most comfortable way to communicate the experiences I have had with mental health and has become a very important part of my life. Art gives me the opportunity to express myself and I am a firm believer that art can challenge the stigma attached to mental health as well as have a positive impact on a person’s mental and physical wellbeing.
I have always been interested in the idea of “creating physical representations of internal realities” through artistic means, and currently in my practice I am encouraging others to take part in projects in the hope that it will encourage a dialogue about mental health with a wider audience.
I feel that socially engaged projects are a great opportunity to learn more about other people’s experiences with mental health and are an interesting way for the individual to speak up about their mental health problems.
The images included in this blog are examples of my current practice; the mixed media collage is my response to a recent project that I created based on the idea of what ‘vulnerability’ means to people; I asked people to transform a portrait of their face, creating a physical representation of an experience they have had with mental health / vulnerability.
The point of the project was to encourage people to express themselves visually and create a piece of art that would inform others of their experience with mental health. I feel that mental health is still a sensitive subject and that people don’t talk about it enough. Because I have had personal experience with mental illness and understand the negative impact it can have on one’s life, I am extremely passionate about encouraging dialogue with a wider audience to ensure that there is an understanding of mental health problems.
It is so important that people living with mental health problems have a support unit and a vehicle in which they can express themselves, and for me personally art is a great way to share experiences with other people and gives me more confidence to talk about my mental health problems.
What do you think about the issues raised in this blog?
Or pledge to to share your experience of mental health problems today and find out how talking tackles discrimination.