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Beautiful masks explore young people’s experience of mental health difficulties

Date published: 18 Dec 2014

Posted by: Joe Pick

Decorated mask

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A group of young people with mental health difficulties made these fantastic masks for Ravensdale Rocks, a community concert and showcase that was held at the Samworth Academy Performing Arts Centre on 15th November 2014.

The young Mansfield residents worked with artist Stephen Jon. He created the templates for the masks, which were embellished and imbued with meaning by the young participants. They are members of a counseling support group and this project was designed to help them build confidence through participation in the arts. They chose ‘the mask’ as a theme having explored it in their counseling sessions as a way of dealing with different emotions. Each mask tells a personal story which the creators hope will speak to others, shining a light on their experience of mental illness.

“Being able to be creating something that can change people’s thoughts was a good experience”
Natalie, The Under 25s Group

City Arts was funded by Nottinghamshire County Council to work with the group as part of our young person’s programme Express Yourself. The Ravensdale Rocks Concert was organised by ‘In Our Hands’, a community group brought together by Mansfield CVS and the National Holocaust Centre in Laxton. The project built on the excellent work already being done for the ‘In Our Hands’ programme, which teaches primary and secondary school children about the Holocaust helping to reduce hate crime and discrimination, and promote acceptance.

“I thought it was nice that we could all do our individual pieces of work, but we were identified as a group. It was good to focus on something else and escape from the real world.”
Sonia, The Under 25s Group