Unique art brightens mental health clinic

Zoe KeenanSouth Western Times
South West Health Campus Aboriginal mental health coordinator Glenda Humphries is a finalist in the Western Australian Mental Health Awards.
Camera IconSouth West Health Campus Aboriginal mental health coordinator Glenda Humphries is a finalist in the Western Australian Mental Health Awards. Credit: Zoe Keenan

Walking through the halls of Bunbury Hospital and the mental health clinic is a far better experience than you would expect, thanks to Glenda Humphries.

In 2017, the Aboriginal mental health co-coordinator was sitting in her stark, white waiting room, thinking about how clinical it felt when she had an idea.

In 12 months her idea transformed the walls of the Bunbury Hospital and mental health clinic into works of art. Recently she was announced as a finalist for the WA Mental Health Awards in the diversity category for her work.

Bunbury Aboriginal elders and families collaborated and chose six Aboriginal artists to complete the work.

“The whole aim of it was just to bring the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities together as well as making the service usage more comfortable for Aboriginal people,” Mrs Humphries said.

“History with Aboriginal people and mental health isn’t a good history so we wanted this place and the hospital and other services to be welcoming.”

She said her Aboriginal clients, although unwell, felt good seeing the artwork.

She said the artwork had also created talking points for non-Aboriginal people, bringing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people together.

“It’s breaking down barriers, people are asking about the paintings and what the words mean,” she said.

The state awards highlight the achievements of people and organisations from across WA who demonstrate mental health excellence, innovation and initiative in supporting people.

The winners of the State awards will be announced on November 18.

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