Ireland has one of the highest rates of mental illness in Europe (ranked 3 out of 36 countries) (1) with at least 1 in 4 experiencing a mental health difficulty in their life. (2) Compounding this is the negative impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on people’s mental health with almost 60% of people living in Ireland stating it has negatively affected their mental health. (3)
CESCA member Shine Cork are part of the national Shine organisation that provides information and support to people affected by mental health problems. Shine support individuals and families and are the only national mental health organisation specifically founded to support all family members. Shine offer a range of free mental health support services including information and support on mental health and recovery planning and support. Shine (originally established as Schizophrenia Ireland) staff and peer led groups have a wealth of experience in supporting a multitude of severe mental health experiences. This includes supporting both people with self-experience and their families. Shine also run See Change and Headline.
For the month of September, Shine Cork exhibited a collection of creative works by people who have experienced or are on their journey to mental health recovery. This exhibition Steps of Hope was displayed on billboards across Cork City. The pieces of art and writing expressed messages and images of hope about something that many people think is not possible -living well with and recovery from severe mental health experiences. Shine Cork believe recovery from mental illness is possible. To Shine recovery means people having support to enable them to have the best possible quality of life they can. This is regardless of any symptoms or experiences of mental ill health they may or may not be living with on any given day. Shine believe that recovery is self-directed, and it is based on personal needs, likes and experiences. That recovery has ups and downs, but it is possible.
Corkonians and visitors to the city were encouraged to walk the 6km wheelchair friendly route. This exhibition was a collaboration with Notes to Cork ‘Public Inspiration Panels’ (‘PIPs’) and Test Site on Kyrl’s Quay. Shine Cork presented this exhibit in conjunction with Shine’s See Change Green ribbon launch and the exhibition included works from partner agencies, SMART Recovery, Gateway Project, Nasc and Cork Simon Community. The exhibition was made possible through funding from the National Lottery.
Visit Shine.ie and Instagram @stepsofhopecork and #stepsofhopecork for the full range of images and for more information on the work Shine do.