On the weekend I went to the launch of Let's Face It, a book of stories by people living with mental illness. This was a project I was working on earlier this year, mentoring the authors, many of whom had never written their stories before.
It was such an amazing experience and really opened my eyes about mental illness and what it is. You see it's one of those illnesses that people find really difficult to understand. There are often comments like "I get depressed sometimes too, but I get on with it," which shows a lack of understanding of what depression and other mental illnesses are really about. I'll admit that I didn't really comprehend until I read the stories in this book.
The stories are confronting, real and thought-provoking. I feel like I have a better understanding of mental illness after reading it. And that's what the project set out to do. We wanted to share stories of mental illness with people who didn't understand, so that they could, and also to prove to those who were still suffering to come to terms with their illness. We wanted to show there was light at the end of the tunnel, that you can live and thrive with a mental illness. For those reasons, this book is a must read - even though the stories are confronting. You can purchase your copy through Serenity Press.
The launch coincided with the opening of the Let's Face It mask exhibition, which was part of the mental health awareness project. Over the past six months over 250 masks were made for the project by members of the community. You can see a selection of the masks in the photo of Rebecca Laffar-Smith and myself. The exhibition really is quite fabulous and if you live in Rockingham, head down to the Arts Centre on Kent Street this week to check it out.