The deadline is fast approaching for Paint your Path, a colourful art competition for the south west region.
Paint your Path is paving the way for mental health consumers and their loved ones to share their artistic journey Australia wide.
It is open to residents who have a current, past history of mental illness or have a loved one living with mental illness.
Entrants will have a chance to get their artwork displayed on Biopak cups nationally with 14 lucky artists selected to showcase their artwork through the hospitals of the south west region.
The theme for the competition is “learn and grow’’.
South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) mental health service director Dr Claire Jones said the “learn and grow’’ theme wasn’t just about showcasing creative work but also about focusing on how entrants process their feelings.
“Communication is important in recovery, so if art can help our consumers or their friends connect with another person in some way, then that’s great,” Dr Jones said.
Mental illness can impact everyone including NRL players, which is why the Wests Tigers’ football club are showing their support for people living with mental illness by getting behind the Paint your Path art competition.
“We hope that competition entries from the Tigers’, mental health consumers and their loved ones will help to reduce stigma about mental illness while also helping participants to learn about themselves and grow as a result,” she said.
Sporting organisations around the world have long tried to rid stigma surrounding mental illness by encouraging players to express themselves and their emotions.
Dr Jones said it isn’t uncommon for athletes not to want to acknowledge when they are experiencing difficulties with their mental health.
“Some athletes don’t like talking about mental illness as they are concerned that it could be perceived as a sign of weakness but this couldn’t be further from the truth – it takes a lot of strength to open up about how you’re feeling.
“The anxiety associated with meeting these expectations can make seeking help for a mental health problem hard but it is a really important step towards getting and staying well,” Dr Jones said.
Wests Tigers’ CEO Justin Pascoe said the team’s goal is to care for their players and ensure that they are in a position to show support when it’s needed in order to help break the silence on a life-changing illness.
“Wests Tigers are proud to be involved with this incredibly important initiative,” Mr Pascoe said.
“Mental illness can impact anybody at any stage in their life and it’s important that people understand that it’s ok to speak out and seek help.”
Participants have to submit their entries by 9am on September 26 for judging.
For more information visit the website here.