Abbi paints a picture of mental health awareness

Maricourt Catholic High School Year 11 student, Abbi Green has celebrated her finished piece of artwork, which focuses on the mental health of young people.

Abbi launched her finished artwork on social media during mental health awareness week and received many messages of praise from pupils, parents, community groups and many mental health organisations.

Abbi said: “The story behind the image is to show how much people really face in their minds, and how conflicted it is. It also shows that not everything is bad and there’s still good in everyone.

“The butterflies reference the good and beauty and warmth people generate, and the colours also help show this (pinks and reds). The pink also shows femininity and love. Then the Hydra Dragons (taken from Greek mythology) show the evil and bad feelings that are in people’s heads, some larger than others.

“They are depicted with sharp fangs and in the colour blue to show how not only dangerous these feelings can be, but how sad they can make you feel, and cold. I then have the contrasting of the red and blue which emphasises the contrasting of the mind, and finally the face is painted in a style of acrylic which is not the clearest, which helps pull the focus completely to the mind as this is what really matters.

“I also have some colours added among the face, which depict the emotions that come from the head, which are chosen to be represented in everyday life – which in this case and most others not everything in their minds and only a snippet of what they are truly conflicting with.”

Abbi’s fellow pupils are impressed by the scale of the work, which helps to make it a conversation piece. They often ask Abbi what it means, and it will prompt discussion on what the girl is feeling and why the creatures are above her. It also inspires some pupils to be more confident with scale and media and gives them a standard to aspire to.

Abbi continued: “I believe it was important for me to try and highlight the mental issues faced by not only young people, but everyone, as especially a few years back it wasn’t talked about as much, and sometimes a brushed away topic.

“I believed showcasing these issues in the form of art helps people to eventually be able to speak about these issues and realise that things like this cannot be rubbed/brushed away (like acrylic paint) and that they are here and will always be, and it’s up to us to speak and help others about it. “Mental health is important, and I believe everyone should have the opportunity to talk to whomever they are comfortable with, as mental health affects every aspect in life.”

Mrs Clair MacKinnon, teacher of art at Maricourt, said: “I am so proud of Abbi’s journey towards this final piece. She put much thought into the concept behind it and there was a long process involving drawing, photography, experimentation, and improvements leading up to this point.

“It is the beautiful and evocative conclusion to a dedicated project. Abbi’s success is solely contributed to her commitment to self-improvement and it was lovely to be witness to her pride in completion.”

Mr Joe Mangan, headteacher, said: “We have a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing and stress that it is not an extra-curricular activity. We place a great emphasis in considering young people’s mental health. At Maricourt we aim to lay the foundation, which gives students confidence and an ability to live their future with a healthy heart and a healthy mind.”

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