New Art And Mental Health Guidelines Launched

By / 8th of October, 2014

A checklist for arts and mental health projects published in South Australia has garnered national attention in the burgeoning field.

Country Arts SA launched “Bringing it all together: Guidelines for Arts and Mental Health Projects” to coincide with Mental Health Week.

The 20-page guidelines were produced in response to a need for art and mental health resources in South Australia.

Country Arts SA Director of Community Engagement Anthony Peluso said there was now a nationwide request for the standards.

“I know many national bodies working in this field are waiting for the guidelines to be released to see how they can integrate elements of them into their programs,” Peluso said.

Country Arts SA Arts and Mental Health Development Officer Simone Gillam developed the guide with an extensive state-wide network of Arts and Mental Health professionals across a two-year period.

“The main philosophy behind the guidelines is to foster mutual respect between artists, mental health workers and participants. These guidelines can be used in all art fields: visual arts, dance, music, performance, digital media, literature, sculpture, textiles and more,” Gillam said. “The guidelines address a desire from stakeholders to be working on the same page when planning and working in this specialised area.”

A long-standing partnership between Country Health SA and Country Arts SA has enabled the guidelines to be developed to better equip artists and mental health workers in this specific field.

Community artist Helen Crawford has worked on many SA community arts projects and art and health projects across the last 10 years.

“The guidelines provide a really important check list to help projects succeed and avert problems,” she said.

“They also relate to everyone involved in a project from participants to organisers and supporters. In this way they help groups of people have important conversations that develop common understandings.”

Country Health SA Executive Director of Mental Health Rebecca Graham said mental health week was important in helping to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

“With over 40% of people experiencing some form of mental illness in their lifetime, it is an issue that has the potential to affect anyone at any time.”