Date Published: Saturday, April 28, 2012
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Local youth want you to see mental health through their eyes in a photo exhibit at the Scarborough Civic Centre on Thursday, May 3.
Under the guidance of Colin Scheyen, the multimedia worker for the Studio2 program at East Metro Youth Services, the nine youth participating in the project created a photo exhibit featuring video and photos about what mental health is through a youth's perspective.
"It's sending just a key message that either some youth that were brave enough to come up and talk about issues that are pretty serious issues and they've been empowered through the use of camera lens and a video," Scheyen said.
Scheyen said that even though they're a children's mental health organization, they wanted to do something for Mental Health Awareness Week in May.
He added that mental health is a not a well understood topic and not often discussed - especially among youth.
According to Scheyen, mental health is often associated with negativity.
"It's everybody's concern and it's not a negative thing, it's a positive thing because we all deal with issues of mental health," Scheyen said.
Krishna Bhatt and Nandu Anilkummar learned a lot about the topic throughout the project, became more comfortable talking about it and expressed their thoughts.
Krishna, a grade 10 student, said he took his photos to "stop the stigma" and break the barrier so people can seek help.
One of the photos he took for the exhibit features a lone glove on a ledge.
Bhatt explained that the photo is a symbol showing that people dealing with a mental health issue are often left alone and abandoned.
Nandu, a grade 11 student, has photos in the exhibit that mostly represent how people suffering from mental health don't seek help and if they don't, their problem will ultimately get worse.
One of his photos for the exhibit is a hand on a door with broken glass.
Multimedia worker Scheyen says that even though the photos are from a youth's perspective, their goal is to engage a wide audience range.
"It's encouraging people of all different shapes and sizes just to understand that mental health is not something that we should keep in the shadows, but it's something that needs to come out and that it's for everybody's wellbeing that we talk more about this issue."
The Studio2 program is a multi-media program for youth in Scarborough offered by the Violence Intervention Project at East Metro Youth Services. The program provides youth with real multi-media skills and social skills with an emphasis on violence prevention and media literacy.
The photo exhibit was done in partnership with Toronto Community Housing.
The event is from 4 p.m to 8 p.m.
The photo exhibition takes place at the Scarborough Civic Centre at 150 Borough Dr.
Admission is free.
For more information, contact Larry Freelander at 416-981-6522.
(Please note that CMHO staff does not reply to comments that are posted on news stories.)