"How Mental Health Resource has helped me." Chris Chris Smith Mental Health ResourceSmith.

Diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder at the age of 20, I was sure my life was headed for disaster or even worse! I was someone who used to suffer with a poor quality of life that an aggravated mental health condition and chronic addiction brings. When I left Rehab in 2008 I wanted to find work that was meaningful and work that made me feel I was being useful in the community.

The Hub

The Hub was a place that took a chance with me and allowed me to gently find my feet as a volunteer. I quickly found people I could relate to and over the next 2 years I became a regular member of the writing group. I attended each week to help facilitate this group and I was allowed to join in the decision-making and general running of the group.

Soon after, I also began to devote a whole day per week to volunteering and I subsequently enjoyed 5 years as an Art Group helper as well as creative writing facilitator.

My dream was to become an Art Therapist which, back then, seemed an overwhelming challenge. But the Hub staff believed in me by supporting me through my studies as well as encouraged me to keep run the Trinity art group.

My goals

I was voted by Town & Country Housing as Volunteer of the year in 2015 and later qualified as a state registered Art Therapist.

After qualifying, I was paid to run the Art Therapy group at the Hub and I have been doing this since October 2015. The group is now in its 9th year and has been nominated for many other awards and has had various exhibitions and outings and workshops.

What I have learned

I have learned so much from all the hub members over these years and am greatly indebted to them all. I have also learned so much about how to take care of myself with special attention to my own mental health. The service is always personal, warm, effective and unfettered by the administration that larger organizations can often be burdened by.

I owe so much to the hub and am very grateful for the service it provides, for the part it has played in helping me get my life back on track and also for the resource it is for others who are in desperate need in the community.

You can help people like Chris get the support they need by donating to our Mindwell Art Appeal today!