Coventry mental health patient uses photography exhibition to tell story - The Coventry Observer

Coventry mental health patient uses photography exhibition to tell story

Coventry Editorial 18th May, 2023   0

A YOUNG mental health patient from Coventry has shared their recovery story as part of a brand new photography exhibition.

The display was commissioned to mark Mental Health Awareness Week which began on Monday and runs until Sunday, May 21.

Clio – who identifies as male but has not yet changed his name – was admitted to St Andrew’s Healthcare in May 2022 having already been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.

Having been admitted and discharged from various different hospitals, Clio started to believe he would never get better and that his life would be always revolve around his poor mental health. He said he felt hopeless and lost, constantly fighting strong urges to self-harm.

But a year later he has started to make significant improvements, prompting him to take part in the Hope Exhibition.

Clio said: “No one understood me. I felt hopeless. But, for the first time ever I now feel good in my own skin. I am living the life I feel I should be as the gender I should have been born. I am now eager to move on to the next stage of my life.”

The Hope Exhibition was commissioned by mental health charity St Andrew’s Healthcare to break the stigma of complex mental health and to demonstrate how hope could have a positive effect on a person’s life.

The exhibition also includes portraits of four other people who have all been sectioned due to varying mental health difficulties.

Each individual was captured holding an object that held significant or sentimental meaning to them because it gave them hope along the way.

In a separate shot they were captured with a St Andrew’s Healthcare staff member, chosen by the patient for the support they gave along their recovery journey.

St Andrew’s Healthcare’s CEO Dr Vivienne McVey said helping people find some sense a hope was a large part of what the mental health charity did.

“Sometimes finding hope can be incredibility difficult for the people we care for, but hope is that one thing that insists something better awaits us, if we only keep fighting for it.”

She added through the inspiring stories of five people in the charity’s care, the powerful photo exhibition was aimed at showing recovery was possible if hope was found.

“We also wanted to show other people who may be experiencing similar mental health struggles, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

The charity cares for some of the most clinically complex patients in the country who saw their futures as being bleak and empty when first admitted.

“Our staff are compassionate, empathetic and consistent, they make our patients feel valued and cared for, reminding them that they deserve to live meaningful, fulfilled lives.”

Everyone is hugely proud of the Hope Exhibition and Dr McVey thanked everyone who played their part to bring the project to life.

Visit to see the exhibition.


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