This art is helping combat stigma around mental illness

Local artist and health practitioner Meg Neufeld has been selected to be a part of an international art project.

Along with her husband, Neufeld runs Alongside You, an integrated health clinic in Ladner. She is also a regular contributor to the Optimist through her An Art Full Life column.

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Recently she found out that two of her art pieces had been chosen to be displayed internationally on the U.S. East Coast in an online art project called Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma.

“This is a global project aimed at enhancing the conversation about eliminating stigma while calling out the importance of scientific insights about mental illnesses,” said Neufeld.

“The goal is to encourage people to demonstrate how art can help transcend mental illnesses and lead to a better understanding of them, to empower individuals to become champions of science by offering education about the biological basis of mental illnesses, with the goal of increasing acceptance, fostering compassion, and combating discrimination once and for all.”

Neufeld said she found out about the project through social media and a friend who suggested she enter a couple of pieces.

“I didn’t think too much about it until they contacted me,” she recalled. “There were more than 200 submissions. It resonated with people so I’m really encouraged by that.”

Her pieces, along with other selected submissions, will be turned into banners and will appear at the Scientific Symposium on the Neurobiology of Mental Illness in New York, the Breaking the Chains of Stigma award ceremony in New York City and a public health conference organized by Philadelphia Mural Arts.

The competition is sponsored by Janssen’s and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

“This project reflects Janssen’s and Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s goal to continue to help people and communities all over the world end stigma and discrimination related to medical conditions where stigma prevents people from seeking the attention, support and care required to manage their condition,” she said.

“My husband and I have been working hard to promote art and health and the benefits of it. We are excited that we are able to move in this direction.”



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