Art exhibition shows a tonne of hope

Students from the ‘Messengers’ program

TUGGERANONG Arts Centre’s hugely successful “Messengers” program is turning 18 and it’ll be celebrating with a collection of student work today (November 15).

Messengers is an arts-based early support program aimed at improving the mental health of young Canberrans and in the “Always Hope” exhibition, the young artists have been exploring and responding to the energy, entropy, harmony and chaos of life.

Tuggeranong Arts Centre’s CEO Rauny Worm says this life-affirming program, first funded through a suicide prevention initiative, has provided young people from the age of 12 years with creative respite from the pressures of navigating adolescence.

“The young people that come to the program are given the task to explore their challenges through drama, writing, music and visual arts,” she says.

“The work they create sends out their own personal message, and with the experience of having personal control of their situation, their resilience grows.”

The “Five-Year Youth Mental Health Report” published by Mission Australia and Black Dog Institute in April 2017, claims one in five adolescents experience depression by the time they reach 18 years of age and that as many as one in seven young people experience a mental health condition.

Ms Worm says what is really alarming is that young people are less likely than any other age group to seek professional help, so this program is a way through that.

“Always Hope” exhibition, Tuggeranong Arts Centre, 137 Reed Street, Greenway, November 15-24.  

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