Mental Health is the theme for this year’s Leaders of Today PROJECT Art Exhibition, which will be on display at the Williamstown Library from 10 to 17 October.
The exhibition will comprise of artworks by young local creatives aged 12 to 25 which explore perceptions and experiences of mental health and well-being.
Winners in the Junior category (ages 12-17), Senior category (18 to 25), People’s Choice and Mayoral Award will be announced on the opening night.
A spokesperson for the Leaders of Today said that last year’s PROJECT Film Festival was originally created to provide a platform for young film makers to explore issues that affect young people within the community of Hobsons Bay.
“The theme of the People's Choice film would be addressed as the key idea of the next iteration of PROJECT.
“Hence, this year’s PROJECT Art Exhibition was inspired by Patrick Ilagan's film ‘Help Me’ and its exploration of suicide in young people and encourages young artists to submit artworks that explore the theme of mental illness in young people and what it means to them.”
Mayor of Hobsons Bay Councillor Sandra Wilson said the theme offered an opportunity to raise awareness of one of the most prevalent issues facing young people in the community.
“More young people in Hobsons Bay experience psychological distress and psychiatric hospitalisations than anywhere in the Western Metropolitan Region,” said Councillor Wilson.
“Around 20 per cent of Hobsons Bay secondary students reported high levels of psychological distress – significantly higher than the Victorian average of 13 per cent.
“One of the key messages from our recent Youth Suicide Prevention Forum was that young people need to be involved in conversations around this issue.
“Unfortunately there is still a taboo around mental health and initiatives such as this one can be a catalyst for important discussions which need to take place across the community.”
The exhibition, which is now in its second year, is led by the Leaders of Today, Hobsons Bay’s youth leadership program with support from Council’s Youth Services team UP.
“This is a project which has been created and managed for young people and by young people in our community.”
Promoting initiatives which create opportunities for young people is a key priority supported by Councillor Wilson's 2017 Mayoral Program.