Going Through The Emotions: the exhibition challenging the stigmas of mental health

Sophie by Darina Mohammed

While mental health is increasingly on the public agenda and often leveraged in policy pledges, talking openly and honestly about personal struggles is not yet normalised. This is the situation that a new Liverpool social enterprise The Mind Map looks to tackle. This week, The Mind Map has opened their first art exhibition before the launch of their online resource on 13th March.

The website will host articles, videos, mindfulness, exercise and nutrition resources, which will help young people access online wellbeing advice and signposting to mental health services. Founder Phil Bridges describes it as ‘an online wellbeing resource I’d liked to have given to my younger self’. Working with young people has been key to The Mind Map, who have worked with the Merseyside Youth Association to develop the project.

The exhibition, ‘Going Through the Emotions’ opened on March 8th and runs until April 8th at Liverpool’s Unit 51 in the city’s creative ‘Baltic triangle‘. It brings together eleven artists, including Billy Childish and Jamie Reid, to present visual representations of mental health. From Californian artist Amber McCall’s explorations of trauma to Darina Mohammed’s photographic enquiries into coping mechanisms, the show helps deliver The Mind Map’s wider aims to normalise mental health through journalism, arts, culture and workshops for young people.

As part of a wider project, the exhibition signals the starting point of an organisation committed to using arts and culture to challenge the stigmatisation of mental health that persists. It hopes to provide support over the critical teenage years, and The Mind Map will also provide mental health and media workshops, starting with the delivery of a six-week media programme to the Merseyside Youth Association’s mental health group in April. Keen to deepen understanding of their demographic, The Mind Map are also working on a research project with Liverpool John Moores University into the perceptions and experiences of non-clinical mental health support currently available to UK students.

This critical subject makes The Mind Map’s work well worth watching. A trip to the exhibition will also be rewarded by work from Sam Venables, Freddie Smithson, Comics Youth, Low Coney, Matthew Challenger, Amrit Randhawa and Nick Booton.