Mildura PARC showcases Indigenous art 

A partnership between the Wellways-managed Mildura PARC and the East End Community Group, is supporting local artists and helping to make the Mildura PARC look great.

With the assistance the community group’s Leo Male, “Indigenous Artists of Sunraysia” provides colourful artwork under a lease arrangement. This helps create a welcoming and culturally sensitive environment at the PARC.

“The Mildura PARC is acting as an art gallery for local indigenous artists, where 16 pieces of art are on display and available for sale,” PARC manager Michele Gorrett said.  

“The art is replaced every three months, and the partnership supports and promotes the work of local artists”.  Ms Gorrett has purchased two pieces herself, which are on display in her office, which she intends to give to Wellways.

The 10 bed, $4.3 million Mildura PARC opened by the Victorian government in January, provides state-of-the-art residential care to people experiencing mental health issues and is operated in association with Mildura Base Hospital.

Minds Do Matter art show

The City of Launceston’s Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery at Inveresk is holding an exceptional show of works by Tasmanians who have been affected by mental health issues – either directly or indirectly - in this year’s Minds Do Matter art exhibition.

Artists were asked to respond to the World Mental theme of ‘Do you see what I see?’ More than 150 artists – either directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues - have contributed.

QVMAG Director Tracy Puklowski said, “QVMAG is thrilled to once more host this community exhibition that enables Tasmanians to see the benefits of art for people with experience of mental health issues”.

For many Tasmanians art provides an avenue for expression and a means of coping with difficult and distressing emotions. The importance of art in all its forms is being increasing recognised for its educational and positive therapeutic values.

Kim Schneiders, a local arts practitioner and Director of Interweave Arts in Launceston, said: “This year’s theme ties in well with visual arts methods that encourages an artistic voice, provides a process for communicating emotions and facilitates greater community understanding for Tasmanians living with mental health issues.

“Art can often be the vehicle that someone needs to let their fear out where they can see it, onto a canvas or a blank page, where it’s easier to deal with than when it’s lurking in the back of their mind,” says Ms Schneiders.

Wellways Tasmanian Manager Dianne Hawkridge said: “Wellways is proud to be associated with QVMAG, as this annual exhibition means so much to Tasmanians who live with mental health issues because it gives them such a unique outlet of expression.

“The exhibition goes a long way to breaking down stigmas around mental health, giving Gallery viewers insights and perspective into what living with mental health issues means.”

Minds Do Matter is an annual exhibition sponsored by Wellways.  Each year the exhibition explores the relationship between art and mental health and celebrates the power of art to be life enhancing and life affirming. The exhibition is on until 5 November. 

Regional Victoria roadshow

Peer workers from the Great South Coast region of Victoria have taken information about Wellways support on the road, thanks to a Mental Health Week grant. The team are visiting places like Men’s Sheds and community houses at 11 smaller towns, where mental health services are in short supply.

As Tracey Morriss, Peer and Family Services coordinator said, it was about sharing stories about mental health experiences. “We are trying to break down stigma, give people an understanding of mental health and let them know that it’s ok to speak up about their mental health.

“Locals reported an overwhelming lack of services in small rural areas but have also been thankful that we are making the effort to do something like this to start supporting the more isolated communities,” Ms Morriss said. “They are seeing the benefit of having outreach services.”

Life’s journey in Canberra

Wellways in Canberra joined in the annual Mental Health Wellbeing Expo and organised a community art project. People were asked to decorate tiles representing their journey in life.

Up to 200 tiles will hang as a mural in the Canberra offices of Wellways. The team is also calling for contributions to a book celebrating people’s life journeys - through the tiles and writing. To be part of the project, all you need to do is write your story, (if you could limit it to A4 size paper), then email it to Anne at agapp@wellways.org

Tea time with Tharawal

The Wellways Campbelltown team joined in Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation’s community morning tea to mark mental health month. It was an opportunity for people to get together, play games, enjoy live music, art and find out about local mental health services. 

Tharawal is a health care and community centre in Sydney, supporting the needs of local Aboriginal people.