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More than window dressing: Artist uses Guildford shop to raise awareness about youth mental health

A Guildford calligraphy artist is using a local shop window as a fun way to raise awareness about youth mental health services, urging the community to snap a selfie in front of her artwork and post it on social media.

Judith Ann created the Gothic-inspired painting using calligraphy script on one of the front windows of Swan Valley Gallery in James Street as part of a Valentine’s Day promotion.

But after seeing firsthand the benefits of mental health support from headspace Midland on young people, she decided to use the display as a fun way to raise awareness and critical funds for Youth Focus services.

Judith Ann is urging the community to take a photo in front of her heart-shaped creation, which reads “Love is all you need, all you need is love” and upload it to social media with the hashtags #loveisallyouneed, #youthfocus and #headspace. It will be on display until mid-March.

Adjoining windows display informative posters about Youth Focus and a QR code if people would like to donate to help fund important youth mental health services.

“Not everyone knows about the important work Youth Focus and headspace do and it’s such a worthy cause I think we should promote it,” she said. “You can go to a good school, you can go to a bad school. You can have a loving family around you and still have mental health problems. It doesn’t discriminate. It can touch anyone at any time.

“The idea is families come up with their kids, couples, husbands and wives, take a photo, help raise awareness about mental health and perhaps make a donation. I want people to have fun with their loved ones – kiss, pull faces, have a giggle, hug, show the love. “I hope that this can save one heart from breaking.”

Youth Focus provides free, unlimited counselling, web-counselling, outreach and community education services.

Youth Focus is the only specialist non-government youth mental health service in WA and works to prevent suicide and improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people aged 12 to 25.

Last financial year, the organisation supported almost 12,000 people, including young people, their parents and local communities.

Youth Focus Chief Executive Officer Arthur Papakotsias thanked Judith Ann for her generosity in rallying the community for the youth mental health cause.

“The influence of thoughtful acts like this cannot be underestimated,” Mr Papakotsias said.

“It impresses the youth mental health message on our community and has the ability to raise crucial awareness and funds so our services reach more young people in need.

“The past year and the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that mental health support has never been more important for young people.

“We have seen a 34% increase in demand for our services and at the same time the University of Sydney has forecast a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 related mental health presentations among young people.

“At best, research by the university’s Brain and Mind Centre projects an increase in suicides of young people by 12.4%, at worst 18.3% over the next five years.”

Last financial year Youth Focus supported 6090 young people through its free, uncapped counselling and assessment services and another 5773 people through school and community education programs at 37 schools.

Nicole Cox – 0419 941 443
[email protected]