On Friday 24th February, Mayor of Southampton, Cathie Ewing, was welcomed by both patients and staff, as she opened Southampton’s first Arts and Film festival for local people living with mental illness.
The free art event, coined The Excited Orange following a patient suggestion, was organised by Jane Collard, who has suffered from OCD for more than thirty years. Jane is a peer support worker at the mental health inpatient service Antelope House, and is passionate about breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness, and raising awareness of those who suffer from it. The event was set up in order to empower the patients, and others in the area who suffer from mental illness.
Collard explained: ‘We wanted to give patients a platform for their voice and for them to express, creatively, aspects of their mental illness.’
The event included, ‘a photography exhibition, poetry readings, a t-shirt stall with designs about mental health, animations, films and artwork by staff and patients, plus short talks from patients about mental health.’
You can watch Jane explain her aims in the video below: