What is Art and Mental Health AU?

What is Art and Mental Health AU and why is it important?

Let me share a little bit about myself and the main reasons why I felt I had to create something like AAMHAU.


Art and Mental Health AU is a blog/ platform that was created to minimise mental health stigma in the arts & creative industries and provide a safe space for those in the arts and creative industries to share their stories and personal experiences. My aim is to open and maintain a dialogue with people within these industries in the hopes that they feel heard and validated. We’ve lost many artists, actors, comedians, writers, dancers, roadies, directors, and especially musicians over the last few decades to various mental health struggles. In providing a safe space for people’s stories to be told, my hope is that we can minimise mental health stigma and the incidence of suicide and self harm, and raise the rate of people reaching out and seeking help.

The “struggling” or “suffering” artist has been romanticised over the decades, heck, even over centuries. This idea that we must struggle for our art form is extremely dangerous. Most people get into the arts and creative industries to help process their mental health struggles in a healthy manner. When someone is not in a healthy state mentally, it minimises their ability to work within their chosen field or discipline. The artist becomes overwhelmed and unmotivated, often stuck in a state of depression or anxiety. The anxiety could be about an upcoming exhibition, how they’re going to pay their rent, whether or not their work is of value, or comparing themselves to others and having feelings of low self worth. When an artist has poor mental health, it minimises their output, often making this cyclical thinking worse.
I’m grateful that, in recent years, my generation have started to debunk this term and understand that it is not worth destroying yourself for your art or discipline, that you need to look after your physical and mental wellbeing in order to maintain a healthy output of work.

I’m really excited to be sharing more stories on here in the coming months. I feel extremely honoured to have the opportunity to write about topics that I believe need to be spoken about a lot more, and share the stories of artists you may know and love.

As this project is still very much in the baby stages of development, I’ve put together a survey to help me learn more about the types of resources and sites my audience accesses. I’d love to be able to share sites, resources and apps with a wide audience in the hopes that it helps someone.

If you would love to share your story, experiences or a piece of work that is mental health related, you can head to the contact page on the Art and Mental Health AU site. 

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Hey, hello, it’s me, Ashlea!

One of the biggest driving forces for me putting this all together is my own mental health. I’ve had my battles with various mental health issues for over 15 years and, at times, have found it hard to access all of the information that I need with ease. Because I am multi-disciplined, as well as being a mother, there are many different resources that I need to access in order to holistically manage what I’m experiencing. For example, when I started as a Youth Ambassador for ReachOut, there were no resources specific to young parents on their site. I raised this with them, and now they do have those resources available on their site (with my stories as part of it).

The amount of research I had to do in order to find all of the sites and resources that related to what my friends and I were experiencing was quite disheartening. I know a lot of people who would have just given up looking and not sought any further help.
Below are just some of the articles and stories I came across during my research.
I’m hoping that by doing some of the research, and putting it all in one place, it will encourage people to learn about what they’re experiencing and seek help when it is needed. You can access the current list of sites, resources and apps via the Resources page.

Are there any sites missing that you have found useful? Please let us know.

HELPFUL ARTICLES

Music Has A Mental Health Problem That Needs Immediate Treatment
“A survey on music and mental health by Help Musicians UK found that of 2,000 musicians interviewed, 71% experience anxiety and 68.5% deal with depression.”

The Noisey Guide to Music and Mental Health

Visual Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing: Evidence Review

If you’ve got any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us via the Art and Mental Health AU site.

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Be sure to keep up to date with everything Art and Mental Health AU on our Facebook page.

2 thoughts on “What is Art and Mental Health AU?

  1. Hi Ashlea,

    Thank you for starting this blog! I look forward to following up and checking out all of the resources and research you post in the near future. I’ve also written previous posts about how the arts provide a strong platform for addressing mental health and breaking the stigma associated with ‘the struggling artist’ and/or the ‘outsider artist.’

    https://theartsandeducation.wordpress.com/

    Like

  2. Hi Ashlea, your post is amazing… I do my own mental health campaigns based on personal experiences and I’m glad to have stumbled on your story. Continue sharing the light🌟

    Like

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