Taking an artful look at mental health issues

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Buckingham Library is this week playing host to an exhibition of artwork and photography by people who have been touched by mental health in some way.

The work, which is touring the county’s libraries, can be seen in Buckingham until Saturday.

It has been submitted in the ‘This Moment’ contest, organised by Bucks County Council with other groups that support mental health.

There was a great response to the competition, which was open to everyone aged 11 and over who have been affected by mental health in some way, either through personal experience or via family or friends.

The theme of This Moment relates to Mindfulness – a way of focusing on the present without dwelling in the past or worrying about the future.

Mindfulness has been chosen as the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from May 11 to 17, as it has been shown to be an effective way of increasing wellbeing and reducing stress, anxiety and depression. The exhibition shows the many different ways people have interpreted This Moment.

Buckingham resident Geraldine cares for a family member with mental health problems. Three years ago, while looking into art therapy to support her relative, she was inspired to try a class herself – and quickly found a means to relax.

She said: “Art has made such a difference. While creating a work, you’re able to live in the moment and put aside – just for a while – the pressures and worries of daily life.

“It doesn’t take your troubles away, but it does help you in accepting and managing life’s experiences and emotions. And it’s a great chance to socialise. I entered the ‘This Moment’ art competition with a landscape which brings back to me a calming moment from a holiday in Italy.”