THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force (TBYSPTF) presented the final works of the mental health promotional campaign, Mindful Expressions: My Mind, My Art, at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery today. Youth from across the city and district have been gathering over the last 4 months to meet with artists and develop their artwork, in anticipation of this exhibit.
“Mindful Expressions is an art exhibit showcasing the vibrant and expressive artwork of local youth and established artists. Together, they explored the topics of mental wellness, community connectedness, and where to go for help”, explains project coordinator Vanessa Copetti. “We recognize that it’s not always easy to talk about such sensitive topics, so that’s why we decided to incorporate art as a way for youth to express themselves. Art can tell a story without the individual having to say much”.
It is critical that the experiences and needs of local youth were captured during this project, to help guide the actions of the broader Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force”, says Alana Bencharski, member of the TBYSPTF. “During the workshops, youth engaged in conversations with the artists about mental health promotion, diversity and inclusivity in their community and access to services.
These conversations were an innovative and creative way to not only obtain qualitative data but also function as a platform to share these voices and ideas with the general public”.
Youth were encouraged to select from a variety of art forms – from water colours to beading. Each art form allowed for self-exploration and reflection. Participants described their experience with the Mindful Expressions project as “…empowering to visualize something and to work with the artist to then create our masterpiece. We are so happy to be able to share our art and our tools for positive mental health with our community.”
Funding for this program was graciously provided by the Ministry of Child and Youth Services, Thunder Bay District Health Unit and Children’s Centre Foundation Thunder Bay. Mindful Expressions: My Mind, My Art can be viewed at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery until February 12th, 2017.