A new facebook page aimed at giving people a safe place to share mental health experiences through photography has been launched by a Ramsgate mum-of-one.
Mel Chennell, 44, is hoping the positive benefits she has found in photography will also help others find a way to express themselves.
Mel said: “I have had mental health issues myself -anxiety and depression – and found that getting out the house and focusing my mind and energy on a positive pastime really helped. Art therapy has long been around and there is growing evidence that photography can do the same by providing people with a medium to express their feelings and emotions.
“I started Facebook group Photography For Mental Health to provide a supportive, safe environment for people to share their experiences of using photography as a tool to help cope with varying mental health issues. Members can share photographs and talk openly about shared life challenges.
“All skill levels of photographers are welcome, from the mobile phone snapper all the way up to professionals. Phone cameras are so advanced now that the shots they produce are a legitimate artform. This is great as it really does open up the group to nearly everybody.”
Members of the page are mostly based in the South-east, although there are also some from overseas. Mel says the group is hoping to attract people from across the country.
The group is planning a photography walk/meet up in Margate and looking at the possibility of an exhibition by the members to raise awareness surrounding mental health. They are currently looking for a suitable venue.
Mel, who exhibits her work, added: “I am extremely excited by this new venture and believe the group will make a big difference to people battling mental health issues.”
Find the group here https://www.facebook.com/groups/476395926126352/
According to NHS data in Kent and Medway around 231,000 people aged 18-64 have a common mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety and some 13,000 people have more serious mental ill health such as schizophrenia.
Approximately one in ten children in Kent and Medway aged 5 to 16 has a diagnosable mental health problem.