Thursday, February 1 is national ‘Time to Talk’ day, during which people are asked to talk and learn about their own and others mental health.
This goal is close to the heart of The Perspective Project, a London-based initiative which shares art made by people with mental health problems to promote discussion and reduce stigma around the topic.
The website showcases prose, poetry, painting, videos, photos and other artwork. Submissions explore a wide range of issues, from anxiety and depression to self-harm, substance abuse and dealing with the aftermath of trauma.
Since its launch in September, the site has hosted the work of more than 50 contributors. It is planning to expand offline this year, moving into physical exhibitions and collaborating with local charities.
The Perspective Project was founded by 24-year-old Mark Anscombe, a 24-year-old who lives in Hackney.
Explaining his motivation for the project, Mr Anscombe said: “I think my generation is better any generation before about talking about mental health, but there is a long way to go.
“We share large swathes of our lives and our experiences on social media, but this is often only a superficial, glamorous and cultivated image of ourselves.”
Whilst at university, Mr Anscombe worked on a confidential phone support service where he learned how beneficial sharing mental health problems could be for sufferers.
He said: “Volunteering for Nightline I saw the value that people found in expressing their feelings and thoughts in an anonymous setting, and having their expression validated and supported.
“Many people use art, writing and poetry to express themselves. Similarly, many people connect to art and poetry in a powerful, emotional way.
“It is my hope that our project gives a therapeutic outlet for those expressing their mental health issues through art, whilst combating stigma that arises from public misunderstanding and inability to truly empathise.”
Discussing his favourite submissions, Mr Anscombe cites #100DaysofBulimia and #100DaysofBipolar, by Janet Ford, as well as poetry by John Carpenter about his experiences with PTSD and depression.
However, he is keen to stress that all the work on the cite resonates and moves him, saying: “So much of the work we receive on a daily basis amazes me.”
This feeling is shared by both those who have shared their stories on site and its 100,000 plus viewers.
“Some of our artists have never shared their art with anyone, let alone the public,” Mr Anscombe noted.
“It is humbling to receive some wonderful feedback from people who have never had their story listened to, cared about or shared.”
The Perspective Project welcomes all submissions about any issues relating to mental health. Submissions can be made anonymously. The project can be found at www.theperspectiveproject.co.uk
- Celebrating wellbeing and creativity: South London artists break mental health taboos with Southwark festival10000A heart-warming festival aiming to break taboos surrounding mental health kick started last night with plays written by south London artists. The five-day Stories of Being event will showcase a range of poetry, music and theatre performances, art installations, talks and workshops at the Platform theatre in Southwark until Sunday May…
- 10000Sadiq Khan believes that more should be done to break down the stigma surrounding mental health within interfaith communities. Mr Khan was answering a question posed to him by Navin Shah, assembly member for Brent and Harrow, regarding the approach of mental health illnesses specifically in South Asian communities during…
- 10000Since its creation 25 years ago, World Mental Health Day, held every October 10, has significantly increased awareness of anxiety and depression in society. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and more than 260 million from anxiety disorders. These illnesses…
- 10000Injured Harlequins’ second-row Sam Twomey has spoken out about the importance of mental health awareness. Twomey has spent a year out with a foot injury, and despite assumptions about sports teams, he explains that, at least in rugby, there is no stigma around being open with emotions. After a scan…