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New book showcases art and creative writing from Acute Adult Mental Health Inpatient Unit at Frankston Hospital

Julie with one of her artworks included in the book and peer worker Jesse Cross.

Julie Kennedy loves to paint.

“I find it very therapeutic and relaxing,” explains Julie.

“It brings out a lot of emotions. I find on my darker days I use darker colours and on my happier days I tend to gravitate towards lighter colours.”

Julie is one of the artists featured in ‘The people we meet and the stories we share’, a special book showcasing art and creative writing from clinicians, families, carers and people who visit the Acute Adult Mental Health Inpatient Unit, 2 West, at Frankston Hospital.

It all started when peer worker Jesse Cross and senior social worker Fiona Burton set up a creative writing program for people on the inpatient unit to participate in.

“Whoever is on the ward and keen, we get together, set a topic and write,” explains Jesse who facilitates the group sessions.

“All types of creative writing are acceptable – so it could be poems, stories, experiences. Then people are asked if they’d like to share in the group what they’ve written, and read it out if they’re comfortable. Also everyone in the group is free to donate their work and we ask permission for it to go into our lovely book.”

The art is something people are doing in their own time and bringing in as a donation. There is also an art space set up in 2 West where people can choose for their creations to be hung on the wall and included in the book.

Julie, who specialises in creating abstract paintings and also some aboriginal artwork in a nod to her background, has never had her work published publically before.

“It feels pretty special to be included in the book,” says Julie.

“I think it’s a really good opportunity for people to express themselves in a positive way. A lot of the time there is a really bad stigma around mental health and this book is a really positive experience for the community to see and I think that’s really great.”

Copies of ‘The people we meet and the stories we share’ are available at all Peninsula Health mental health sites.

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental illness, you can contact Peninsula Health’s Mental Health Triage Service 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1300 792 977.

 You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14.