Mental health awareness is comprised of many things, including educating ourselves and the public about what it’s like to live with mental illness. In an effort to fit in, people with mental illness often wear a mask in order to present as “normal.” The willingness of those who live with mental illness to speak out about it is a powerful way to break the stigma. People living with mental health issues can participate in the unmasking and education of those around them by being vulnerable and willing to show their face; the face of mental illness.
Mask making encourages you to explore the persona you show or conceal from the world. It’s a great exercise which can bring to consciousness how we see ourselves or how we would like to me seen. Individuals can decorate both the inside and outside of the mask according to what they show the world on the outside and how they see themselves on the inside. This does not necessarily need to be done in a therapeutic environment in order to be beneficial. Speaking with someone who lives with mental illness, helps dispel the misunderstandings that many have about the illness while helping those with mental illness feel less ashamed of their condition. We all have family, friends and coworkers who are living with mental illness. As long as people feel the need to hide their mental illness, the stigma will persist. Often being diagnosed with a mental illness can cause people to feel alone. The more we speak out about mental illness, the more faces we can put to mental illness, the more we can all heal.