It takes a lot of courage to share artwork.
But the patients at Maitland Private Hospital have bared their souls for a good cause with a collaborative calendar, entitled Share the Journey, to raise awareness and funds for mental health.
Mental Health Day Program coordinator Simon Raine was approached late in 2017 by a patient, with the idea of a calendar showcasing art from the hospital’s art therapy patients and with sale proceeds going towards a local mental health charity.
“We like to celebrate mental health awareness each October and have been planning and working with our art therapy patients since the start of the year to develop this calendar,” Mr Raine said.
“At first we were unsure if we were going to receive any entries at all but we’ve been overwhelmed with both the number of entries and the high calibre of artwork entered into the competition.”
Patients were invited to submit artworks for the Share the Journey Calendar at the start of 2018. The art was selected on both design and the inspiration behind the design which was detailed in the entry form.
Art therapist Nicole Lemaitre said the therapy was a way for patients to express themselves.
“Creative expression is a way to communicate feelings and experiences, and regulate emotions. It’s a growing area of application and used as a form of treatment … and stress reduction,” Ms Lemaitre said.
“It can be offered to people of all ages and abilities. The advantages of art therapy include sharing in a safe, nurturing and confidential environment.
“I think the patients were really thrilled when their artwork were chosen, and now they’ve seen the calendar they’ll realise that they have achieved something.
“It’s taken a lot of courage on their behalf. It makes me appreciate people’s determination and resilience to see things through even if it’s difficult at the time.”
The proceeds will be donated to Arafmi Hunter which provides support groups for people who care for, or about, someone with a mental health issue.
The 2019 calendars are available for $5 each and can be purchased at Maitland Private Hospital reception and through ARAFMI Hunter.