Stunning exhibition show Sheffield people's 'Viewpoints' of a difficult 2020
When it comes to mental health, no two viewpoints are the same.
That’s the thinking behind a new exhibition, being hosted by mental health charity, Sheffield Flourish, and Sheffield Health and Social Care, at The Moor Market this week.
Photos, drawings, paintings, and collages will be on display in the city centre until Saturday, created by people across the region who have been affected in some way by mental health struggles.
"Nobody sees something exactly the same way as somebody else,” explained Jo Eckersley, deputy MD of Sheffield Flourish, which launched in the city in 2012.
"Whether it’s looking out a window, a different experience of mental health struggles, or a political or emotional interpretation of what’s happening in the world right now, we wanted to know what people’s viewpoints were.
"We gave no more guidance than that, and we’ve been stunned by the fantastic submissions we’ve received.”
The exhibition, ‘Viewpoints,’ has been created in partnership with Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, and features over 90 artworks in a range of mediums.
Jo said: “Some of our submissions came from inpatients, with lived experience of mental health, and some came from people who haven’t been diagnosed with a mental health condition, but feel they are struggling, while others have come from people who work in mental health supporting others.”
For the past eight years, Sheffield Flourish has offered a safe space for people to their personal experiences of mental health.
Jo said: “We’re rooted in our community, offering a space for local people to share their stories, and reminding Sheffielders they’re not alone.
“We run the Sheffield Mental Health Guide, where you can search for support services in Sheffield, and Sheffield Suicide Support.
“Within the city, we also support five community enterprises, and ensure that people with lived mental health experience are represented at every level: from volunteers, to staff, to our board members.”
The Sheffield Flourish website features more than 300 local stories of mental health experiences, and Jo insists it’s never been more important to communicate your feelings.
"I think with Covid-19, a lot of people are struggling, and many people believe that things aren’t open or accessible because of the pandemic, but that’s not true.
"We have a helpline in Sheffield that you can call Monday to Friday, during working hours, and speak to a real human who can help you.
"It doesn’t matter if you have a diagnosed condition, if your struggles are brand new, or whether you’ve been living with them for a long time. If you’re having a hard time, we can help you.”
And for those who remain uneasy about leaving the house, or visiting the city centre, the exhibition is also available online.
Jo adds: “We do have an online gallery, as we think it’s important nobody miss out on this exhibition.
"We don’t want people doing anything they’re not comfortable with, so the exhibition will be available for people to access in their own homes until Saturday – which is also World Mental Health Day.”
If you are struggling, call Sheffield Mental Health’s helpline, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, on 0114 2737009, or The Samaritans 24 hours a day by dialling 116123 for free from any landline or mobile network.