The fear of going crazy or losing oneself completely is one of the greatest fears we know. One in four people will face mental difficulties in their lifetime, with all the consequences it entails for themselves and their environment. Unfortunately this does not lead to the understanding and acceptance and solidarity we have come to know with regard to diseases such as cancer or aids. Psychiatric patients are often marginalized or ostracized from society. Whenever the world of psychiatry is featured in the news, it is usually with a negative connotation. In urban areas especially there has been a rapid rise in the number of people with mental problems. In addition, financial cuts in mental health care reduce the chances of returning back to society and leading a dignified existence.
Beautiful Distress strives to create more awareness and acceptance in society for the mentally ill. Through creating and promoting awareness, community willingness to achieve effective professional help for psychiatric patients will increase, within and beyond the established health care sector. By removing stigmas Beautiful Distress hopes to help foster understanding for the problems that patients face.
By initiating and developing ideas and projects together with artists, and subsequently sharing them with the public, Beautiful Distress uses art to tell the stories of psychiatry to a large audience that does not come in contact with mental illness or psychiatry on a daily basis. Even though mental illness often evokes negative emotions it is also a source of creativity. By bringing those two worlds together, Beautiful Distress wishes to validate the world and experience of the mentally ill.
Guiding principles for all Beautiful Distress Projects:
- The way you treat vulnerable people mirrors your degree of civilization
- Mental illness deserves good interpreters
- The better the art, the greater the impact
- Good art has healing powers
Beautiful Distress distinguishes itself from existing mental health support organisations because it does not focus on providing information on illnesses, advice or treatment. Our goal is public awareness: garner attention with and through art that leads to a more positive image, and acceptance.