Striking a chord with mental health

Each year around one in five Australians will experience a mental illness.

In celebration of World Mental Health Day, a concert by mental health consumers and staff was presented by the Mental Health Service at Blacktown Hospital.

It is estimated that around two-thirds of people living with a mental illness in Australia do not seek professional help.

The theme of this year’s celebration was ‘Stronger Together, a Celebration of Creativity’.

Clinical psychologist, Michael De Vere said the primary theme of the event was to address the stigma associated with mental health.

“It took lots of preparation, especially as there were some group performances,” he said.

“It required people to gather together for practice sessions and work together to make decisions about what songs they played … it was an event to showcase talent.”

Weeks of preparation culminated in a very successful event attended by Dr Betze Kotze, staff from Blacktown Hospital, consumers, friends and family.

The concert was held at the foyer of the hospital and performances included instrumental solo pieces, group musical items, poetry and a display of photography.

There was also an opportunity for those attending to contribute to a communal art piece to commemorate the day.