Celebration of recovery through art

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Sunshine Coast artists to participate in the Cooinda Mental Health Service’s second annual art exhibition ‘Path to Wellness’ in October 2014

Sunshine Coast artists, who are also mental health consumers or carers of a person who has experienced mental health issues, will participate in the Cooinda Mental Health Service’s second annual art exhibition ‘Path to Wellness’ in October 2014.

The Cooinda Mental Health Service is an $11 million 33-bed facility which The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital at Buderim opened in 2013 to meet the growing need for mental health services on the Sunshine Coast. In the inaugural art exhibition in 2013, more than 100 people attended the event and enjoyed 50 pieces of featured artwork and craft whilst being entertained by local musicians.

Adriana Leonardi, Director of Support Services at The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital, said the event served an important role in helping to bring people together to raise the profile of mental health in the community. “When we opened Cooinda we consciously made the decision to make it accessible – mental health is too often misunderstood and hidden away behind closed doors and as a result people are made to feel embarrassed or ashamed,” she said.

The Art Exhibition had its beginnings as a strategy to inspire and re-energise people participating in Cooinda’s group therapy programs. To complement the evidence-based components of its program, the Cooinda Clinic’s group therapy programs utilise diversional craft, physical fitness, relaxation, art and music, all of which have been proven can play an important role in relapse prevention – it teaches new skills and encourages socialisation and community connections.

Jo Munday, Cooinda Mental Health Service Business Development Manager, said that the exhibition’s name refers to a person’s journey to recovery, which is different for each individual. “The beauty of this exhibition is that it celebrates and promotes the achievements of all people who have been touched by mental health issues and publicly recognises the beauty of their art – it truly is a highly visual, emotive and engaging way to represent their path to wellness,” she said. “It’s amazing to witness the enormous sense of pride and accomplishment the artists experience. It’s also great to see local artists have the opportunity to participate in this program and see their art celebrated.”

The exhibition also affords the hospital an opportunity to promote mental health wellbeing to the community. “What we are trying to convey through our programs and this exhibition is that mental health is a part of everyone’s wellbeing,” Ms Munday said.

“It’s important for the community to understand that doing art and craft will not necessarily help an individual recover from a mental health episode but if an individual has an interest in art, or music or physical fitness, it can be a good diversional strategy to prevent social isolation, learn new skills and connect to the community in some way which can assist with recovery,” she said.

The Cooinda Mental Health Service offers a range of therapeutic programs for patients with emotional, psychological and psychiatric issues such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder/trauma, Addictions, obsessive compulsive disorder, anger management issues, and more. The facility is staffed by a Consultant Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Registrar, Clinical Psychologists,  Mental Health Nurses, Occupational Therapy, Exercise Physiologist and other specialised allied staff (as required) helping private patients admitted to Cooinda Mental Health Service through both inpatient or day patient programs.

The ‘Path to Wellness’ Art Exhibition will be held at The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital at Buderim on 9 October 2014. This event also aims to support the National Mental Health Week (5 – 11 October). As part of UnitingCare Health, The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital is a not-for-profit private health care provider owned by the Uniting Church and is the only not-for-profit provider of private hospital services on the Sunshine Coast.

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