As an artist I am always trying to find ways of expressing my feelings in a healthy way and help my coaching clients to do that too . Many artists and creatives use their media to support their own mental health, and at Work Safe and Well we help clients discover more creative ways of becoming more emotionally resilient.
I wanted to share some artists that are provoking conversations about mental health to help you start some conversations in your workplace. This example is taken from my Art History blog
Portrait of a Global Issue
Photographer Edward Honaker, began experiencing depression and anxiety at just 21years-old, which he described as feeling like ‘being at war with his brain’.
To cope, he turned to his camera to create a series of self-portraits to reflect his own experience of depression. The images he created are powerful, and challenge the stereotypical views on mental illness, whilst retaining the essential emotional response of feeling isolated and trapped by the illness. They are also a reminder that, while each individual’s experience with depression is personal, the feelings can be globally identifiable.
“I think a really helpful way to end the stigma surrounding mental illness is to be there for others who might be suffering,”Quotes and images sourced from https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/edward-honaker-photography-mental-illness_n_55f0759ce4b03784e2777fbb
What is so wonderful about his photographs is that he is inviting Men to talk about their mental health challenges, and he portrays men in ‘power suits’ distorted in some way to reflect how mental illness can affect anyone. The figures are placed in domestic settings, or with props such as balloons or items of clothing, to show how anxiety and depression can be hidden. On the outside the smart suit and ‘mask’ appear fully functional, but internally the mind is taken over by the illness. Other images in this collection comment on family dynamics and fitting in with society .
I think this quote from the artist is a good summary of how we should respond to his work, and in general as a society:
“You never really know what others may be going through so all you can really do is be kind and non judgemental.”https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/edward-honaker-photography-mental-illness_n_55f0759ce4b03784e2777fbb
Creative ways to talk about becoming emotionally resilient
The Wellcome Trust has a wonderful collection of photographs from their 2020 Photography prize competion that could spark more conversations on becoming more emotionally resilient, you can find them here.
If you had these images at your workplace, how do you think your colleagues might respond?
Could you have a conversation using these images as prompts?
As always, we would love you to get in touch and share what good stuff you are up to.