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Mental Health Arts Festival to Showcase Creativity, Raise Awareness

Mental Health Association will host the free event Oct. 2 at De la Guerra Plaza

Many artists in the community who are living with mental illness are gearing up for their favorite event of the year and adding finishing touches to paintings, sculptures, handcrafted jewelry and more. The 17th Annual Mental Health Arts Festival, hosted by the Mental Health Association in Santa Barbara County, will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2 at De la Guerra Plaza in Santa Barbara.

The Mental Health Arts Festival showcases the creativity of many community members who are living with mental illness and helps reduce the stigma of mental illness. It also supports their talents by providing an opportunity for them to display their artwork at an event that many look forward to all year.

“We are proud to host an event filled with self-expression and creation that provides people in our community living with mental illness with a feeling of accomplishment and a means for healing,” said Annmarie Cameron, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Santa Barbara County.

Since 1990, mental health advocates across the country have joined together during the first week of October to celebrate and strengthen communities by promoting public education about serious mental illnesses, such as severe depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

“Stigma is a major barrier to people seeking help with their mental illness when they need it, and that is why education is so important,” Cameron said. “The Mental Health Arts Festival not only helps raise awareness, but it also gives our participants a time to creatively express themselves in unique and beautiful ways and to share that directly with our community.”

The free event will feature paintings, drawings, sculptures, jewelry, music, poetry readings and more, as well as educational materials for consumers and the general public on mental illness, treatment options and community resources. Raffle tickets are $1, and prizes include gift certificates from many local businesses.

For more information about the Arts Festival, click here or call the Mental Health Association at 805.884.8440.

— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist.

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