Art exhibit brings awareness to mental health

COVINGTON -- For many years, local mental health patients have healed through art therapy. The staff and volunteers with Viewpoint Health Outpatient and Day Services, formerly the Gwinnett-Newton-Rockdale Community Service Board, have long sought to increase public awareness of mental health issues through an annual art exhibit featuring artwork by clients.

The exhibit takes place beginning Monday and running through Friday during regular business hours in the Newton County Library Conference Room. It will feature about 30 pieces of artwork such as paintings, drawings, pottery and jewelry.

"They're always excited about being able to share their work with the community and to educate others about the importance of maintaining their health," said Jennifer Speights, director of Rehabilitation Services for Rockdale and Newton counties.

The exhibit is being held in partnership with the Newton County Library and the Newton County Mental Health Association to raise awareness of mental health issues and promote mental wellness for all, during May, Mental Health Month.

The general public is welcome to attend during normal library business hours and is invited to a special reception from 3 to 5 p.m., where light refreshments will be served.

The exhibit "will show how people can cope by utilizing different methods. Some people exercise, some people shop, other people utilize art as a way to cope with different things that are going on with them," Speights said. "It's a coping mechanism to deal with life in general and as a pasttime and a hobby and it highlights people's creative talents and abilities."

Speights said artistic expression has been an esteem booster and confidence builder for clients.

"The all-day service programs in our agency do a lot of art expression. We've found recovery through art has been very effective," she said.

View Point Health is one of 27 agencies created by the state of Georgia to provide care for behavioral health and developmental disabilities. View Point Health provides individual and group counseling, medication management, recovery and crisis stabilization services.

For more information, visit www.myviewpointhealth.org.