Fragrant Wood Gallery supports mental health in upcoming art show

posted Nov 3, 2014, 1:26 PM by Laurence Gatinel   [ updated Nov 3, 2014, 1:46 PM ]

Fragrant Wood Gallery is pleased to support The Kettle Society, featuring "Nature in the City", a group show, including paintings, photography, plexiglass prints and assemblages. The theme is about the importance of the role of nature in our busy city lives.

Sandra Yuen MacKay, an artist, writer, and mental health advocate, and Jaz Pawa, a photographer, art collector and art agent, approached Alice Gu, the gallery manager, with a proposal for a fundraiser to aid people who struggle with mental illness who may also face poverty, homelessness, addiction, and stigma.

"I want to pay forward the help I've received," Sandra said, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia 34 years ago. Jaz Pawa is a member of The Art Studios, an art program for people in recovery from mental illness and/or addiction. "Creating art plays a therapeutic role for many people suffering from depression and anxiety," he stated. "Creativity aids people with mental illness in ways medication can't." Through Alice's generosity and compassion for others in need, she agreed and "Nature in the City" emerged.

The gallery and artists are donating part of the proceeds to The Kettle Society toward the John Watson Memorial Art Fund, which grants $100 a year to low-income artists for art projects. "We hope that this show will bring artists and the public together to raise mental health awareness. Give a canvas and brush to an artist who can't afford them and he could be the next Picasso," Sandra said. Arts within the mental health community brings people out of isolation. They socialize, share and support each other.

The gallery invites the public to our Opening Reception, Thursday, November 27th, 6-8 pm, at Fragrant Wood Gallery, 2447 Granville St, Vancouver, BC. The show will run thru December 10th.

Fragrant Wood Gallery was established in 2011 and is recognized for Balinese hand carved sculptures and fine art pieces from established and emerging artists of different cultures.

Since its humble beginnings in 1976, the Kettle has been committed to working with people living with mental illness and addictions using a low-key, softly directional approach to build self-esteem and assist in recovery. They have 26 programs; over 350 units of housing and 3,600 clients. Services include: a Drop-in Centre that provides meals 365 days of the year; advocacy; homeless outreach; pro bono law clinic; housing; a women’s transition house; medication monitoring; health clinic; volunteer programs; training & employment; and, social/recreational programs. Artist members of the Kettle will exhibit their work at 1784 East Hastings as part of the Eastside Culture Crawl, November 20th to 23rd.

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Mental: A History of the Madhouse - BBC Four

posted Jun 24, 2014, 8:07 PM by Laurence Gatinel   [ updated Jun 24, 2014, 8:14 PM ]

Documentary which tells the fascinating and poignant story of the closure of Britain's mental asylums. In the post-war period, 150,000 people were hidden away in 120 of these vast Victorian institutions all across the country.

Today, most mental patients, or service users as they are now called, live out in the community and the asylums have all but disappeared. Through powerful testimonies from patients, nurses and doctors, the film explores this seismic revolution and what it tells us about society's changing attitudes to mental illness over the last sixty years.

(Source: BBC Four)

Support - New Evolution of Wise Storytelling (NEWS)

posted Mar 5, 2014, 3:12 PM by Laurence Gatinel   [ updated Mar 5, 2014, 3:14 PM ]

In collaboration with the Community Action Initiative and our community partners, RainCity Housing and Support Society has launched a project called NEWS -- New Evolution of Wise Storytelling.

The goal of NEWS is to create opportunities for community members and media creators to come together to create inclusive and supportive stories about mental health, as a way to address the myths, misconceptions, stigma associated with mental illness. One of the voices should be familiar to Beautiful Minds listeners.

NEWS website:

The following video describing NEWS was made by the youth in the Frames Film Project, through Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House:

RainCity Housing and Support Society:

Community Action Initiative

Frames of Mind - February 19, 2014

posted Feb 3, 2014, 9:19 AM by Laurence Gatinel

Frames of Minds is a monthly mental health film series taking place at the Pacific Cinematheque.

Hidden Pictures: A Personal Journey into Global Mental Health
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 7:30pm
USA 2013. Director: Delaney Ruston - 57min.

VANCOUVER PREMIERE • The statistics are staggering. According to the World Health Organization, as many as 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental illness. Access to care depends on where you reside: in the developing world, fully 80% of those experiencing a severe mental disorder receive no treatment at all. Lack of funding, education, and the prevalence of stigma all contribute to this dire state of affairs -- a situation compassionately explored in physician/filmmaker Delaney Ruston’s latest film, Hidden Pictures.

Post-screening discussion with Delaney Ruston, MD, a Seattle-based, Stanford-trained physician, documentary filmmaker, and nationally recognized mental health advocate. 

Let's Talk | Your Mental Health Matters

posted Jan 27, 2014, 10:19 PM by Laurence Gatinel

Your mental health matters, and together we will break the stigma behind mental illness.
Don't forget that on January 28th Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives for every: 

- Text message sent
- Mobile and long distance call made
- Tweet using #BellLetsTalk
- Facebook share of our Bell Let's Talk image

So on January 28th LETS TALK!!!

Source: Bell Let's Talk 

I had a black dog, his name was depression

posted Jan 27, 2014, 10:00 PM by Laurence Gatinel   [ updated Jan 27, 2014, 10:09 PM ]

At its worst, depression can be a frightening, debilitating condition. Millions of people around the world live with depression. Many of these individuals and their families are afraid to talk about their struggles, and don't know where to turn for help. However, depression is largely preventable and treatable. Recognizing depression and seeking help is the first and most critical towards recovery.

In collaboration with World Health Organization, writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone tells the story of overcoming the "black dog of depression".

Source: World Health Organization

Sharing Stories

posted Jul 19, 2013, 4:41 PM by Will Martin   [ updated Jul 19, 2013, 4:45 PM ]

Sharing Stories, Mental Illness and Recovery.

This dynamic 8-week workshop ran successfully in 2012 and is returning in 2013. In a supportive peer group, (up to 6) participants will embark on a journey of exploration, focusing on writing and speaking about the personal experience of mental illness and recovery.

Participants will become the author of their recovery story, each week discussing new concepts for story-telling. Through guided writing and sharing activities, participants will organize and articulate their experiences into a fluid story that provides insights into the experience of mental illness and key components of one’s personal recovery journey.

Please contact facilitator Seia Roots at with inquiries.

Local Artist Solo Exhibition

posted Jun 4, 2013, 2:09 PM by Will Martin

Sandra Yuen MacKay, a writer and artist living with mental illness talks about her work in a youtube video @ She has a solo exhibition coming up in July at Caffe Rustico Galleria, 3136 Main Street in Vancouver. For more info, call 778-235-7969.

You're invited to CONNECT

posted Jun 4, 2013, 2:08 PM by Will Martin

The Gathering Place's Annual Community Art Show and sale of over 100 works of art from Vancouver's Downtown South. Opening night is Thursday, June 6th, 5:30 to 8pm at 609 Helmcken in Vancouver.

Shoppers Drug Mart and CMHA to kick off “Ride Don’t Hide” with founder Michael Schratter

posted May 22, 2013, 11:53 AM by Will Martin

(May 20, 2013) 13 communities across BC will pledge to turn out at least 7,000 to ride their bikes on June 23 to support the mental health of women and their families

Vancouver, BC – To launch “Ride Don’t Hide”, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and its sponsor Shoppers Drug Mart are holding a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Wednesday, May 22 at 10:30 a.m.

At the rally, riders will hear from “Ride Don’t Hide” founder Michael Schratter who, in 2010, rode 40,000 km around the globe to raise awareness for mental health issues. This is the first year the community ride will be held province-wide, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Shoppers Drug Mart. Schratter will share his personal story of battling bipolar disorder and encourage the public to sign up. After, the riders will participate in a ceremonial ride down Hornby St.

Representatives from Shoppers Drug Mart and CMHA will also be on hand to talk about the ride and the goal of bringing out 7,000 riders and raising $400,000 for mental health programs benefiting women and their families.

  • When:   Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. (Ceremonial Ride to begin at 10:45 a.m.)
  • Where:  Vancouver Art Gallery (stairs at Robson St. and Hornby St.)
  • Who:     Michael Schratter, founder of “Ride Don’t Hide”; Bev Gutray, CEO of CMHA BC; representatives from Shoppers Drug Mart.

More information available here

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