A healthy gathering of artists, friends and family, members of the public and health professionals attended the launch of the ‘1 in 4’ art exhibition held at An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway on September 10th.
The exhibition was a culmination of work put together by the members from the ‘Catch 23’ mental health drop-in centre based in Stornoway which is run by the Western Isles Association for Mental Health, (WIAMH).
The project was co-ordinated by Joe Mahony a locally based digital artist and a part time project worker with Catch 23 with support from fellow workers Cathy Macarthur and Hilary Sludden.
It saw over 40 people fuse a diverse mix of art, creative writing and visual pieces, including a DVD with a central theme of addressing issue of stigma and discrimination experienced by people affected by mental illness.
The project was funded by the National ‘See me’ campaign through its small grants scheme and the title of the exhibition was derived from the ‘See me’ website message that states: “1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem at some time in our lives. The stigma of mental ill-health has been called one of the last great taboos”.
See me go on to say: “People with mental health problems often tell us that the reactions of family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues and employers is harder to deal with than the illness itself.”
The participating artists have used their artwork as a means to address this on-going issue and as one artist said: “What better way than getting this message across than producing work and showing it to the general public in the area’s premier exhibition space and being part of this project has meant so much to me.”
The exhibition was launched during Suicide Awareness week and following on from this success, WIAMH have been asked by See me to be part of a short film which will be shown through the See me website and should be launched in mid-October to coincide with Mental Health Awareness week.
WIAMH is a small locally- based charity that focuses on how to maintain (and where necessary, recover) a positive state of mental wellbeing, for individuals and the community as a whole.