Bucks County Council marked Mental Health Awareness Week with a special reception hosted by county council Chairman Zahir Mohammed at which the three winners of the county’s This Moment art competition were announced.
The competition was open to anyone over 11 who had been touched by mental health issues, either directly or indirectly through a friend or family member or at work.
More than 60 entries were submitted to the competition entitled ‘This Moment: Connecting with the Present refers to mindfulness’, the national theme for this year’s awareness week.
Mindfulness is a training approach that has received much attention in recent years.
It helps people to become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and body sensations so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, they’re better able to manage them.
It is also about focusing attention on the present moment, rather than dwelling on past worries or the challenges of the future.
This competition has been an inventive and fresh way of highlighting the importance of mental healthJane O’Grady, Bucks director of public health
Jane O’Grady, Bucks Director of Public Health said: “Art is an excellent way of being mindful and focusing on the present moment – in producing a piece of art you have to focus on the creative act which absorbs your concentration and gives you time and space to step back from the concerns of everyday life.
“That’s why it made sense to have an art competition as a way of highlighting how mindfulness can help promote mental wellbeing.
“I have a particular interest in promoting mental health, and consider it pivotal to our overall health and wellbeing.
“This competition has been an inventive and fresh way of highlighting the importance of mental health to ordinary people in their day-to-day lives, and I thank the staff and partner organisations that have made it all happen, but particular thanks to everyone who has put their time and talent into taking part and entering a piece of art.
“I must say that I’m amazed at the sheer variety of people’s work – both in terms of the approach and the way the subject has been interpreted.
“The judges too were impressed with the overall quality of the work submitted, and had quite a challenge in picking the winner in each of the three age categories.”
Hannah Twyning won in the 11-15 age group with the judges saying this piece “fully understood and presented the central theme of mindfulness and represented that theme in an inventive and engaging way.”
Haajira Tanveer won in the 16-24 age group with the judges saying this piece “depicted the essence of mindfulness perfectly. They particularly liked the abstract colour and shape combinations which have a strong emotive quality.”
Steve Wassell won in the 25+ age group with the judges saying this was “a stunning piece which filled all the criteria. A technically brilliantly made piece of work which was complex and thought provoking with a strong sense of mindfulness”.