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Free From Stigma Art Exhibit

For Mental Health Week 2019, the Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council (YMHAC) hosted "Free From Stigma Art Exhibit" on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Over 30 local young artists (16 to 25) gathered to showcase their perspective and experiences on mental health and addictions through art.

By taking part in this event, artists and guests were able to engage in the conversation around mental health and addictions. Not only were they empowered and motivated to be a part of this growing dialogue, but they were able to challenge biases and beliefs that exist in their community.

With speeches, music, interactive art activities and more, the event was a great success from start to finish. Young people were able to share their story, have their voice and perspective heard, as well as showcase their talents. It was also an opportunity to shine a light on the work that is being done in our community to combat stigma, particularly the work of mindyourmind and YMHAC.

Although this was a one-time event, it is YMHAC’s hope that this exhibit will inspire other young people to do their part, so that individuals affected by mental health and addictions issues are able to envision a world where they do not have to live in fear or silence, and where they can live free from stigma.

YMHAC would like to thank the London Life Youth United, United Way Elgin Middlesex, London Health Sciences Centre, and #RisingYouth Community Service Grant, with the support of mindyourmind and LHSC's Transition Age Project (TAP), for believing in and funding the project. Without their support, this art show would not have been possible.

As well, thank you to the artists who participated in the show! Your artwork inspires us to speak louder about mental health and addictions issues and to give young people a platform to be seen. Not just for their struggles, but for their strengths. Your art truly gives us hope for the future.

A special shoutout to YMHAC member, Rachel S., for designing the artwork featured as the event's logo. Titled "Set Free" the artwork depicts the lower half of a face with butterflies emerging from the top.

The Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council is made up of youth (ages 16 to 25) with lived experience of mental health and/or addiction issues. They work to provide a platform for authentic youth engagement and involvement in the community. Visit their page on our website here to learn more.