Living with a mental illness can leave individuals and families feeling alone, sad and disconnected. In Sacramento County, it is estimated that over 300,000 residents are living with a mental illness. Roughly, one in five adults will have a diagnosable mental disorder during their lifetime and nearly one out of five children will experience emotional or behavioral difficulties.
The “Journey of Hope: Real Life Stories of Living with Mental Health Challenges Portrayed Through Art” exhibit pairs local writers with artists who illustrate their personal stories of struggle, hope and recovery with mental illness. This exhibit is part of the “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project which aims to reduce stigma and discrimination, promote mental health and wellness and inspire hope for people and families living with mental illness in Sacramento.
In addition to the exhibit, a panel discussion and reception on FREE museum day - Sunday, Dec. 15 from 1-2:30 p.m. will be hosted at the Crocker Art Museum. Enjoy a compelling discussion about some of the positive contributions that art and creative collaboration have brought to the Sacramento region – especially as it relates to social connectivity, mental health and well-being.
Established in 2012, the project reaches out to diverse communities within Sacramento County and reminds family members, friends and individuals of all ages that they are not alone, and that with education and support, it’s possible to lead a fulfilling life with a mental health condition. Through the two- and three-dimensional works of art at the Journey of Hope exhibit, visitors can learn about the experiences of other community members living with mental illness and find hope in the depictions of these real-life stories.
“This [exhibit] is about more than raising awareness – it’s about cultivating a new level of understanding,” says Journey of Hope artist Kaino Hopper. “This show's connection to lived experience requires me to go beyond myself, into someone else's world, and then add a bit of myself into the story as I interpret it from the newly discovered depths of being one with the story.”
The art in the exhibit features a variety of mediums, styles and forms, and each portrays a different writer’s unique experience living with mental illness. This exhibit offers hope and understanding to visitors and contributes to the Sacramento County project’s mission to reduce discrimination and stigma around mental illness in the community.
The stories presented by writers like Michael Winsor and others, help to start a conversation about mental illness, and by doing so, they educate the broader community about this important topic and help to reduce stigma by creating a safe space to talk about mental illness and solutions for maintaining mental health.
“My story is about the challenges I have faced with mental health. I chose to use the ocean as a metaphor for my experience,” said Journey of Hope writer Michael Winsor. “As my journey continues, the storms have become less intense, and less frequent. I am learning to ride the waves.”
The “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think” project is funded by Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services through the voter approved Proposition 63, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). For more information, please visit www.stopstigmasacramento.org, and follow the project on Facebook and Twitter.
Residents can also call 2-1-1 Sacramento (2-1-1) for free, confidential information and local referral services; residents who are hearing impaired can call 7-1-1 to connect to 2-1-1. Specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and interpreters are available.