London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
In psychosis, like with any mental illness, there are two key concepts. First there is remission, which is defined as not having symptoms. But the second is recovery, is a lot more than just not having symptoms.
For Julie Richard, a psychiatrist who works with the Prevention and Early intervention in Psychosis Program (PEPP), the opportunity to be involved in recovery is something she truly enjoys. That enjoyment will be on display at the ARTS Project, starting Oct. 30, with the sixth biennial Creative Minds exhibition.
The exhibition, which runs until Nov. 10, is a show created to give PEPP clients, their families, and even staff, an opportunity to share their artistic side.
“Recovery is about having a meaningful life, which is defined by the client, not by us as the health care provider,” Richard said. “Often as a health care provider, I get to help with remission, but this is a way I can help with recovery and is why I really enjoy it.”
Anyone can come see the exhibit during regular hours at the Arts Project. And if they are interested in making a purchase, which will benefit either the artist or the PEPP program, they just have to approach staff at the gallery staff.
“As part of the show, people can donate to the program, but clients can also choose if they want to sell their artwork,” Richard said. “So there is an opportunity to support the artist directly by purchasing the artwork. Some of the clients consistently sell quite well with each show we have.”
Richard said there are approximately 40 pieces submitted for the show this time, with the artwork including everything from oil paintings to watercolours to abstract art and even some installation artwork.
The clients, Richard said, aren’t directed to submit any particular piece of art; there are no classes. Clients are simply asked to spontaneously bring in submissions and the program utilizes a juried panel of community members to review the artwork and make selections.
The value of the program, Richard said, is really to celebrate the creative endeavours of the PEPP community and support all the good work the program offers to people in recovery from psychosis. A definition of psychosis, offered by Richard, is any illness in which people have trouble discerning reality.
Statistics show psychotic disorders occur in 1-in-100 young people, which is defined, Richard said, as early teens to around age 45.
Richard said psychosis often happens when people are in the “productive stage of their lives,” when they are in the middle of schoolwork or jobs or are involved in serious relationships. Expressions of creativity are just one way Richard said the program helps clients not just with remission, but also into full recovery.
“It is one of many tools that can be helpful in a person’s return to wellness. It is one way people can regain some of their previous pursuits, be able to share themselves through art,” Richard said. “People in recovery can have the opportunity to work on projects that not only bring personal satisfaction, but an ability to feel they are able to continue to with what they were doing before.”
Richard became involved in the program as a student, in 2006, before becoming a full-time staff member. Despite her busy schedule, involvement in the art show is something Richard has kept up.
“I think it is a really nice way to support our clients in their recovery that is outside of the office. What I really enjoy is that it allows us to work with individuals on a pursuit that is important to their recovery, but isn’t based on illness,” Richard said. “It isn’t just client art, it is clients, staff, families that all come together. I can’t think of another place in health care where everyone comes together to create something like this.”
The Creative Minds art show takes place at the ARTS Project (203 Dundas St.) from Oct. 30 to Nov. 10. The exhibition is available during regular gallery hours, Tuesday to Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m.
For more information on Creative Minds, visit www.artsproject.ca. For more information on the Prevention and Early intervention in Psychosis Program, visit www.pepp.ca.
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