IT’S important to get talking about mental health, says St Luke’s worker Chris McInnes.
Ms McInnes is the senior manager of mental health and housing at St Luke's and recently opened an exhibition in Castlemaine as part of Mental Health Week.
The exhibition is on show at Market Building in Mostyn Street until Wednesday when Mental Health week winds-up.
The works on show are creations by people who have experienced mental health challenges.
“For the opening we had the local choir sing some songs to set the scene,” Ms McInnes said.
“We then had one of our clients who is having a poetry book published read us some of her poetry.
“And then I opened the event with some comments in relation to the prevalence of mental illness in the community and how quite often mental illnesses are a hidden issue.
“It was really good to see people speaking out about mental illness and having the courage not only to advocate for themselves but to advocate for others.”
Artist and writer Janet Galbraith read poetry inspired by her mental health experiences from her soon-to-be-released book 'Re-membering'.
"Janet had written poetry particularly about a 16-year-old client who was a refugee and had attempted to hang himself in a camp,” Ms McInnes said.
“It made particular comments about trauma related mental illness and the impact things can have on people’s mental health. It was a very touching poem.
“So I made the comment of the strength of people not on advocating for themselves but for others in the community that experience mental illness.
“We hope that events like this raise awareness and make it less of a hidden thing in society and for people to be more accepting of this like any other illness that people experience.”
St Luke’s Castlemaine office mental health worker Paula Croft said the art show was an important event.
She said it helped raise awareness about the work St Luke’s did in the Mount Alexander Shire.
“Mental health issues affect all of us, either directly or as a family member, carer, friend or workmate of a person with a mental illness,” she said.
If you or someone you know needs help phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.