Tue, Jul 30, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Exhibition raises awareness about mental illness

By Lai Hsiao-tung and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Staff members on Tuesday last week put up works by people with mental illness and dementia for an exhibition at Guangfu Hall and Huatsui Hall at the 435 Art Zone in New Taipei City’s Banciao District.

Photo: Lai Hsiao-tung, Taipei Times

The Ministry of Health and Welfare and the New Taipei City Government are holding a special art exhibition to raise public awareness about the effort that people with mental illness put into rehabilitation and help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

Preparing for the exhibition has brought out patients’ potential and their pieces serve as a form of communication, allowing others to see their honesty, said Chang Chieh-hsin (張介信), director at the ministry’s care center in New Taipei City’s Bali District (八里).

The project was inspired by the TV drama The World Between Us (我們與惡的距離), which is about the mental struggles of people involved in a murder case, Chang said.

A rehabilitation center and other facilities have been established to encourage care center patients to socialize with local residents, Chang said.

“We facilitate training and improve the daily lives of the patients. The project aims to help people work on communicating with others,” Chang said.

The patients at the care center have invested a lot of effort into preparing the exhibition, center doctor Chang Tzu-chiang (張自強) said, adding that one of the pieces, a pair of wings mounted on a wall, was made from medicine packages and symbolizes patients becoming better.

Lin Che-hsi (林哲熹), who played a mentally ill character in the TV drama, said that when their condition is stabilized, people with mental illness are like any other person with a chronic disease, that they can work and live with other people.

Patients undergo rehabilitation to learn new skills, allowing them to feel accomplished, Lin said, adding that advocacy groups and family members help patients become “better” and return to society.

The free exhibition, on display at Guangfu Hall and Huatsui Hall in Banciao District’s (板橋) 435 Art Zone, runs until Aug. 12, the center said, adding that there would be additional events on weekends, including tours.

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