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Oxfordshire Mind

Abingdon Art Exhibition

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Kayla Maslin
Face Behind The Brain by Colin Jazz James
Face Behind The Brain - Jazz James

Oxfordshire Mind is a mental health charity, there to make sure anyone with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn for advice and support. Founded in 1967, Oxfordshire Mind run a wide range of services for anyone who is affected by mental health problems, providing information and support to people experiencing mental health problems in Oxfordshire. Services include; the Oxfordshire Mind Information Line, Wellbeing Support, Benefits Advice, Transitional Housing Services, Physical Activity and Wellbeing Services, and Talking Therapies.

Our Vision

We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect.

Our Mission

We promote good mental health through the provision of high quality services and campaigning for positive change.

Our Values:

- Striving to make mental health services more human

- Working alongside people to help them realise their potential

- Raising awareness, promoting understanding and challenging stigma

- The importance of community and the benefits of mutual support

How we work

- Open: We reach out to anyone who needs us

- Together: We’re stronger in partnership

- Responsive: We listen, we act

- Independent: We speak out fearlessly

- Unstoppable: We never give up

Kayla Maslin attended one of Oxfordshire Mind's Art Exhibitions in Abingdon, back in October 2018.

The "Creative Paths Towards Yourself" was a showcase of some of the fantastic artwork produced by both Meadow Brook College and members of the group; people who have personally suffered or are currently suffering from various mental health issues.

When I walked in, I was greeted by a crowd of smiling faces. There was a local band performing on one side of the room with a group of members sat around having tea and cake and enjoying the music. I was soon chatting away with others, who came eagerly to take me to see their work. We talked in depth about the back stories of the pieces, their own backgrounds and their inspiration. Everyone talked so highly of the group; their enthusiasm was infectious. What was intended to be a fleeting visit soon became a lovely, wholesome afternoon. I was in awe, not only of the art I was seeing nor the people behind them, but of the environment that I was in. There was a buzz of sheer delight, happiness, friendship and passion. I found myself drawn to certain pieces and it gave me great joy to see that people were able to take their own mental health issues and channel them in such a beautiful way. The leaders of Oxfordshire Mind have created a safe space for members to be their most creative selves. It is somewhere they can be who they are whilst enjoying themselves, each other and most importantly what they love to do. It gives members the chance to express themselves in ways they might not feel confident or equipped to do so otherwise. Yet another remarkable asset to Abingdon's community.

"I wanted to highlight the work that has been put together by the young people from the College. These pieces were done by boys aged 11-14 years old and some of their teachers who have too suffered Mental Health Issues. These children are currently on 'the discovery course' delivered by our physical activity coordinator Alex Rothwell. These are young people who have been excluded from schools around Oxfordshire; and they go on this course for 8 weeks to discover coping skills throughout their young lives." - Sarah Jordan

"The rest of the art is from our group. We have art sessions every Thursday 10am-12pm. Our sessions are attended by people of a wide range of ages and backgrounds. People come to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere where they can express themselves. Some of the members have been coming for over two years; when they first attended they were so disheartened and closed off and then all of a sudden there is this explosion of colours and this expression becomes something they can hold on to; their expression is their survival. As for the young people's work; we have had college and university students come and look around and have said they have seen certain pieces which they felt personally connected to and have seen their own messages within. Life’s differences such as your age and background doesn't exist when it comes to this." - Eve Savickaite-Kazlauske

"Creativity takes courage,” French artist Henri Matisse once said, and I couldn't agree more. Thank you for sharing your work with me. I take great honour in now sharing it with our readers.

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