An art therapy program supporting LGBTIQ youth in Brisbane has won a statewide mental health award in the 2019 Queensland Mental Health Achievement Awards.
The PRIDE Art Therapy Program was announced as the winner in the LGBTI Award category at the awards last week, for its work in helping improve the mental health of young LGBTI people aged 12 to 24.
The PRIDE Program, run by LGBTIQ peer support organisation Open Doors Youth Service, works with LGBTIQ+SB (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Sistergirl and Brotherboy) youth in Brisbane and greater South-East Queensland, to improve mental health by strengthening support connections to peers and community.
The PRIDE Program has already reached over 4,500 LGBTIQ+SB young people since 2017 and encourages self-care and self-expression in healthy, safe ways by removing the stigma of mental illness and promoting social inclusion.
Creative arts therapist from the PRIDE Art Therapy Program, Mikarla Teague, thanked Open Doors in a press release for launching the program, and noted the power of the arts and healing.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect the PRIDE art therapy program to take off as it has. Thank you to everyone who believes in the power of the arts for healing. Thank you to Open Doors for taking a chance on me and the program idea,” Teague said.
This year’s awards ceremony, sponsored by the Queensland Mental Health Commission, took place at Brisbane City Hall to mark the end of Queensland Mental Health Week.
The LGBTI Award category was also sponsored in partnership with the Queensland Aids Council (QuAC).
The host and organisers of the Achievement Awards—Queensland-based mental health and disability not-for-profit, Open Minds—has been providing specialised support services for mental health and disabilities in Queensland and Northern NSW for over 100 years.
Open Minds CEO Paula Mayson said the awards not only acknowledged the humanitarian work being done by individuals in the mental health sector but also drew attention to the successes of providing empathetic and reliable mental health support.
“This year the entries for the awards were of such high calibre and standing,” she said.
“This awards ceremony is a great way to end Queensland Mental Health Week and take time to really stop and focus our attention to some inspirational achievers in the mental health sector.
“It’s a great way to acknowledge those working so hard to really make a difference in the lives of those with mental illness, congratulation to the winners and finalists of 2019.”