Calling Bucks artists and photographers – help us to raise the profile of mental health

  |  Published: Mar 16th 2015
This moment - Tuscany (detail)
This moment - Tuscany (detail)

The silence over mental health is being challenged by a competition that's using the visual power of art and photography to get people to express their feelings about the issue.

People are being invited to take part in the contest if they have personal experience or have been touched by mental health issues through the experience of friends, colleagues, school friends or loved ones.

The 'This Moment' art competition, which closes on 10 April, has been launched by Buckinghamshire County Council working with its partners in mental health and voluntary services. With a quarter of the population experiencing some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, many families have experience of the difficulty and disruption that it can cause.

Creative activity is beneficial for mental wellbeing, whether it's to shift someone's mental focus into the present moment or to provide an alternative means of expression that can give emotional release.

But art can also be really beneficial for those who care for people with mental ill-health too.

Geraldine of Buckingham cares for a family member with mental health problems. Although she'd studied art as a younger student, the only brushes Geraldine had used since then were as part of her work renovating houses. Then three years ago, while looking into the possibilities of art therapy to support her relative, she was inspired to try a class herself – and quickly found in art a means to relax and refocus her mind.

"Art has made such a difference –while creating a work you're able to live in the moment and put aside – just for a while – the pressures and anxieties of daily life. It doesn't take your troubles away, but it does help you to get things into perspective. And it's a great chance to socialise.

"Art is now an important part of my life.  I’ve begun taking art lessons and have already entered the 'This Moment' art competition with a landscape which brings back to me a particularly calming moment from a holiday in Italy."

You can also enter the This Moment competition with photographic work – details are on the Bucks County Council web page: http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/healthy-living/mental-health/this-moment-art-competition/

The competition which is open to anyone aged 11 or over, will lead on to a series of art and photography exhibitions in local libraries to show off people's work in the lead up to Mental Health Awareness Week (11 – 17 May) when the winners will be announced.

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