Express Yourself: Fighting stigma through art

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By Raiyana Parekh

Despite the fact that one in five people in Canada will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their life, a negative stigma still surrounds the subject. With the goal to address this issue within the community, Health Promotion at Ryerson is hosting Express Yourself — an on-campus art exposé focusing on mental health that features different pieces submitted by students.

Natalie Quan, co-ordinator for Express Yourself, said she hopes the event gets the community thinking and talking about mental health.

“We don’t have a lot of stuff like this around the campus,” Quan said. “I feel like it’s a good way to reach out to students and get them involved.”

Each art piece shown in the exposé represents a different theme surrounding mental health. Submissions, ranging from murals to drawings, are accompanied by a story about how the piece relates to a certain issue.

Students also had the option to submit their work anonymously.

“We want to give [students] as many options as possible,” Quan said. “People may feel more comfortable expressing themselves without actually giving out their name. It makes them feel more comfortable expressing art in that form.”

Jayson Llarinas, another co-ordinator of Express Yourself, believes art has the ability to reach out to those with mental health issues in ways that other mediums can’t.

“We found art is a great way of expressing yourself and [is] a good stress reliever,” Llarinas said.

The artwork will be on display in the podium building and in Ted Rogers School of Management until April 4.



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