During this year’s Mental Health Awareness week we’re highlighting final year actor Peter Heenan’s art project, #PostPieces – encouraging people to engage with their mental health creatively.
“Art is what I use to work through the difficult times in my life, so I am passionate to sharing it with as many people as possible as a means to explore and express what they may be going through.
Fundamentally, PostPieces is all about helping ourselves by helping others – which I believe is crucial in order to truly break down the stigma surrounding mental health and spark an open and honest conversation about how and what we feel within society.”
Spurred on by his own experiences of mental health, and the news of a 14 year old local boy’s suicide, Peter took constructive action and created #PostPieces, alongside his acting training here at College.
With support and funding from REPCo, the College’s student-led entrepreneurial arts company, the project has grown from a concept- They’ve been great at helping us grow from a concept into an organisation with an achievable plan to grow. They’ve also funded much of our work, and helped us realise ideas – Such as our UnBalanced Exhibition we’ll be plastering around college over the next few week.
Step One: Express
Create a piece of artwork on one side of a blank postcard in response to your experience with Mental Health. A painting, drawing, poem… Anything!
Step Two: Explore
Share your experiences or offer some advice and support that might help someone who finds themselves in a similar situation on the opposite side of the postcard
Step Three: Share
Leave your PostPiece in a public place for a complete stranger to find –
Somewhere it could offer someone connection and advice when they need it most – in nooks, crannies, libraries, books, shops and cafes around Cardiff and elsewhere to be discovered and used by the finder for inspiration immediately, or kept for a later time of need.
“It was born out of an extremely difficult time in my life,” says Peter.
“Having hit rock bottom several times, and somehow managing to sink even further, I knew I had to do something to not only save myself, but to support anyone else who was experiencing anything similar to what I was. Helping others is a really positive way of helping myself.
I knew that I had to do something to make some sort of difference. Opening up about my mental health was terrifying, but it was a small price to pay for the potential to help even one person who was struggling.”
Peter launched the project alongside his local Belfast’s Tinderbox Theatre Company’s revival of The Man Who Fell to Pieces.
He’s has gone on to work with the College’s RepCo project and the Student’s Union, as well as a wide range of artists and arts organisations, offering audiences and students a creative outlet for how and what they feel.
Peter’s also partnered with Heads above the Waves, a Cardiff based not-for-profit organisation that sells clothing while helping young people with depression. Every parcel they send out around the world has a #PostPiece hidden away in it.
Throughout this process Peter has been developing the workshops which are at the heart of this project, using methods derived from arts therapy and his own drama workshops. This summer, after he leaves College, he’ll be delivering them initially in Belfast, and as part of Arts on Prescription.
Look out for #PostPieces UnBalanced exhibition which will be appearing all around the College over the next few weeks.
You can find out more on Peter’s website: https://postpieces.wixsite.com/website
and about Mental Health Awareness Week.
Support at RWCMD
You can also access our free 24/7 online and anonymous support for mental health through Big White Wall, using your College email address to sign-up.