Mental Health Matters with an Artful Approach

Posted: 16/05/2018 7:40:42 AM by WorkInCulture editor | with 19 comments

Written by Parul Pandya

When Workman Arts first approached me about the opportunity to produce a mental health arts symposium, I was thrilled and drawn to the opportunity for multiple reasons. While working in non-profit for over a decade through the arts and social services, I saw the direct impact of mental health on individuals and communities across Ontario. Additionally, I have faced my own mental health challenges with anxiety and depression throughout adulthood, and I wanted to acknowledge the overwhelming and sometimes frightening reality of confronting mental wellness as a relatable and human struggle. 
#BigFeels: Creating Space for Mental Health in the Arts Symposium programming emerged from carrying out public consultations with artists with lived mental health experience, arts organizations and mental health service providers in March 2018. The goal was to actively listen to create conversations, supports and training opportunities to enrich the personal and professional repertoires when responding to mental health needs. Through working in community arts I have learned that art is a powerful tool for having open and accessible conversations on difficult topics.  As individuals, arts workers, community contributors and developers, #BigFeels aims to provide a space for critical conversations, while bringing together a diverse range of people to share and learn together.
For me this is just the beginning of a journey and a calling that I am committed to, and I look forward to collaborating with many like-minded organizations well into the future. I am grateful to Workman Arts for taking a chance on me.
Parul Pandya, Community Consultant
Community Impact Non-Profit Consulting
For more information on #BigFeels including a full schedule for May 28-30, please visit:
Workman Arts is the longest-running multi-disciplinary arts and mental health organization in North America, and supports the professional development of aspiring, emerging and established artists with lived experience of mental health and addiction issues.
#BigFeels is made possible thanks to generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council.

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