Artists’ Alliance for Mental Health Canada Breaks Down Barriers

The Artists’ Alliance for Mental Health Canada is a group in Canada that brings together artists with mental health issues. Their goal is to break down the barriers of stigma and discrimination when it comes to mental illness.
The goal of the group is to sign up at least 1,000 artists across Canada to be part of this initiative. By gathering those who live with mental illness on a day in and day out basis the group hopes to be able to change the society within Canada on this issue. Patrick John Timothy Connors is a Leadership Team Member with the group. He spoke to Digital Journal about what his hopes for this group are. The group was launched by the founder Greg ‘Ritallin’ Frankson, a poet in Ottawa, this week. At this stage the group is brainstorming on ways to help break down the barriers that those with mental illnesses face and recruiting more volunteers.
“There will be events held in 2010 in Ontario,” Connors promised during a telephone interview with Digital Journal. Connors himself is a spoken word artist in Toronto. He leans towards the academic side of poetry performing his art on open mike nights.
“I’m a middle-aged White guy,” Connors laughed when I asked if he goes to the local Poetry Slams to perform.
Connors told me that this group is close to his heart. He has suffered from depression form time to time and understands the problems that face those with mental health issues.
“Mental health is a huge part of Canada. It’s seen everywhere, from the homeless to the family home. It tears apart the fabric of Canadian family life.”
Connors said that The Artists’ Alliance for Mental Health Canada main goal is to promote awareness about mental health and to help those dealing with mental illness to be welcomed and embraced in society. “By helping one another we help ourselves. We’re making our society stronger.”

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