Art exhibition in Weymouth tackles mental health stigma

Dorset Echo: INSPIRED: From left, Steph Page-Smith, Susan Ward-Rice, Jane Kinson, Vlademiro Rocas and Brian Woods INSPIRED: From left, Steph Page-Smith, Susan Ward-Rice, Jane Kinson, Vlademiro Rocas and Brian Woods

A COMMUNITY group got creative to tackle discrimination and help people with mental health problems.

Members of the Community Mental Health Team in Weymouth and Portland displayed works of art inspired by Chiswell Cove at Weymouth Library.

The exhibition will be running until October 19 and the group also held a number of informal events, including live music and videos, to mark World Mental Health Day, which was last Wednesday.

Brian Woods, of Weymouth and Portland Community Resource Team, said: “The exhibition has come together really well.

“It’s been good for the group to do an activity and help in the community by litter picking from the beach.

“We celebrated World Mental Health Day with extra events running alongside the exhibition.

“It’s all about ending mental health stigma and encouraging people to be more open and talk about it.”

He added: “A lot of people we work with in the area can feel isolated because they feel they have no one to talk to.

“The team provides activities for people where we go out into the community and integrate with a number of other groups.”

The exhibition included sculptures made from driftwood, netting and rubbish washed up on the beach, as well as photographs and other works.

Several groups were involved in the project, including Rethink Conservation Volunteers, Tout Quarry Art Group and rethink Nature in Focus.

Janice Kirkby-Brown, pictured, who runs the Tout Quarry Art Group, said: “I got involved with the group after I had a nervous breakdown about 12 years ago.

“I didn’t leave the house for a long time, it was a difficult time but then I got involved with the group and it really changed things around for me.

“Over the last few years I did an art course and a degree and have set up as a freelance artist.

“I now run the group and when I heard about this campaign I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get involved.”

She added: “Being creative is good therapy but it’s more than that, it’s really good for your wellbeing, it makes you feel good.

“I would say to people suffering from mental health problems that it’s really important to find a group that supports you and be supported by the people around you.

“Days like this are so important because people can come together and find out that there are other people who have felt the same way and that actually no one is on their own.”

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10:18pm Tue 16 Oct 12

HAROLDAMAIO says...

Art exhibition in Weymouth tackles mental health stigma

Hello Rachel, Toby:

I suppose it is irony that the paper’s name is the “echo,” echoing the above prejudice is all too commonplace. Previous “echoes” included “Jewish stigma,” “rape stigma.” You have chosen to echo another. Victims of each such “choice” abound. Could you stop, as an individual, could you?

Please go back and rewrite your article without entering your prejudice. Let all readers (including yourself) benefit from its absence.

It is quite likely you do not experience it as your prejudice. You would not echo it were it not.

Harold A Maio, retired mental health editor
Art exhibition in Weymouth tackles mental health stigma Hello Rachel, Toby: I suppose it is irony that the paper’s name is the “echo,” echoing the above prejudice is all too commonplace. Previous “echoes” included “Jewish stigma,” “rape stigma.” You have chosen to echo another. Victims of each such “choice” abound. Could you stop, as an individual, could you? Please go back and rewrite your article without entering your prejudice. Let all readers (including yourself) benefit from its absence. It is quite likely you do not experience it as your prejudice. You would not echo it were it not. Harold A Maio, retired mental health editor HAROLDAMAIO
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