I mentioned last month that I was taking part in a project related to mental health awareness. The first part of the project was a writing component, in which I was mentoring four women who were writing their mental health story. We've almost reached the end of the project in that all of the stories have been written and we're in the editing phase. The book which will come from these stories is going to be launched during Mental Health week in October.
I'm so inspired by the stories I've read so far, and the way these women have kept trying, kept searching for help, despite the hurdles they've faced. I really think the book will be a huge help to those with mental illness and for those people seeking to understand what mental health means. I'm looking forward to the launch.
The other part of the project is a ceramic mask exhibition. During Mental Health Week the Rockingham Arts Centre will have an exhibition displaying the masks made for this project. The masks symbolise that people with mental illness may not show who they truly are, may have a mask they wear instead.
I made a mask as part of this project and it took a while for me to decide what I wanted to do. In the end I decided to try a Day of the Dead style mask because I'd recently researched the Day of the Dead for a scene in Change of Heart.
I'm reasonably happy with the outcome, though I'll be the first to admit I'm not an artist. I wanted a combination of images to show the stages of mental health; from the caged mind, to the peace and serenity of a lotus flower.
While researching different symbols I read about the semi-colon being a symbol for mental health on Upworthy.com. "A semi-colon is when an author could have ended their sentence but chose not to. The author is you, and the sentence is your life."
I thought this was such a powerful symbol, that I included it on my mask as well.
The exhibition is going to have the masks displayed next to mirrors so that people can look at themselves and see if their face is really a mask. I hope it will start a few conversations.