By Jacinta Counihan
To mark Mental Health Month, the local not-for-profit, Central Coast Primary Care, held its 21st annual Mental Health Art Works exhibition recently.
The week-long exhibit, which finished on October 20, provided a platform for local people to share their mental health stories through art using a range of mediums.
All of the entrants who submitted work must have had a lived experience with mental illness, either as an individual, a family member, a friend or carer.
Central Coast Primary Care’s CEO, Michelle Bradbury, said every year she is overwhelmed with the response from people who visit the exhibit.
“This event is a cornerstone of Mental Health Month each October, and we are honoured to provide a platform for so many talented local people to share their artwork and their voice,” Bradbury said.
Local Emergency Doctor and Ambassador for CCPC, Dr Ash Bowden, spoke at the event and said the exhibition was a great demonstration on how so many people experience and endure mental illness.
“Creating such a space for conversations around mental health can help reduce the stigma that so often hinders people seeking help,” Bowden said.
“Without the validation of shared mental health stories, it’s easy to feel shame about our mental health when we’re not feeling well.
“The truth is one in five Australians experience mental illness, yet without encouragement to talk about our mental health, and forum’s like this exhibition, those with mental illnesses can feel alone.”
The free showcase included paintings, sculptures, drawings, ceramics, photography, and poetry.
“A piece that I kept returning to was ‘Positiv Thinking’ which was a colourful painting with flowers growing in the place of a brain,” Bowden said.
“It may have been the anatomical aspect that caught my eye, but the message regarding the power of positive thinking resonated with me.”