One word, Give, is being harnessed by mental health workers who are asking local photographers and artists if they’re willing to give images for an upcoming mental health display.
Photos and artworks that symbolise ‘Give’ are sought, says Sam Heath and Nicola Gilmoure of health and social services organisation Tui Ora.
“It could be an image that represents giving your time to understand, giving your words, giving your presence – anything really that captures what the artist or photographer wants to express,” says Sam.
He’s hoping to get at least 12 photographs or art works to display during Mental Health Awareness week from 5-11 October.
Originals won’t be used; the images will be transferred to a large format and the artist or photographers name will be visible to indicate their support.
It’s a form of promotion for them as well as a way to help heighten awareness, although the artists don’t need to be professional – anyone can be involved, say Sam and Nicola.
It’s hoped the exhibition will be shown in different parts of the region so empowering images and messages are visible throughout the week.
Give is one Mental Health Foundation message of wellbeing – the others are Connect, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Be Active.
For Sam, Nicola and their colleagues the week is an ideal chance to tell people about the range of services and help available in the community.
Sam, a physical health outcome co-ordinator, plans activities and outings for people dealing with mental unwellness and says being active can play a big part in recovery.
“People can, for example, get a green prescription through Sport Taranaki that allows them to do all sorts of things – join a gym, go swimming at a discounted rate, or try a new sport.
Nicola, who’s a consumer advocate and peer supporter, says relationships are also key. “Having those good level of networks is important, so is understanding where help is available – lots of people simply don’t know what’s out there. Others are oblivious to their mental health or stereotype it.”