Trust launches art competition for people with experience of mental health – 11/06/2014

Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust is proud to launch this year’s Dawn Jones Art Prize, which invites people with experience of mental health issues to create artwork.

Now in its ninth year, the competition was set up by Maureen Jones in memory of her daughter, Dawn Jones, who tragically committed suicide in 2005 at the age of 25 following a long battle with depression.

Previously, the competition was run by Walsall Service User Empowerment (SUE). This is the first year the competition will be run by the Trust, which will allow residents from across both Dudley and Walsall boroughs to take part.

Gary Graham, Chief Executive of Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said: “We’re really pleased to be supporting this competition, which we hope will raise awareness and reduce the stigma that is often associated with mental health.

“We know that art can be therapeutic for many people, and we’d like to encourage anyone with an interest in art – whether as a beginner or as someone more experienced – to get involved and enter our competition.”

Dawn’s mother, Maureen Jones, who set up the competition nine years ago, comments: “It has been very rewarding to hear so many people say things like they had given up art when they were ill, but that the Dawn Jones Art Prize had inspired them to start getting involved in artwork again.”

Entries are invited from anyone with close experience of mental ill-health, whether that’s personal experience of mental health problems, caring for someone with mental health problems or working in mental health.

The competition aims to offer people with experience of mental health the opportunity to express themselves and create meaningful artwork for people to enjoy. It also aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

People can enter one piece of artwork for either or both of the following categories:

a) What makes me happy

b) What I am hopeful for

Entrants must 18 or over and live in the boroughs of Dudley or Walsall, and must be happy for their work to be exhibited if shortlisted. Artwork can be of any medium, or combination of media, as long as it can be hung onto a wall and is between A5 and A1 in size, and should be accompanied by a short paragraph about how mental health has touched your life and how art helps you.

The two winners will receive £100 in vouchers of their choice, along with the opportunity for their work to be displayed long-term in a public building in either Dudley or Walsall. Full competition guidelines can be found at www.dwmh.nhs.uk/artprize.