The latest Art Vs Depression project titled Resilient Friends Club has been visiting children at schools to help them come to terms with life’s challenges.
Seville Grove resident Gavin ‘Gracey’ Grace, who established Art Vs Depression in 2016 to help people confront their own personal challenges, has begun a new eight-week program designed to help school students confront depression.
Gracey went through his own battle with depression after being made redundant from his mining job in 2015 and last year had his artwork showcased at the City of Armadale library.
Using a tattered and torn custom-made teddy bear named Dud, Gracey visits schools to talk with children and get them to open up about their own lives.
When talking to students Gracey explains the story of a broken and battered toy to help them recognise they have value even though they may be hurt or physically or mentally impaired.
Gracey said many people could relate to the battered bear and he hoped they would see they were not alone.
“He’s our mascot, he tells our story,” he said.
“I want young people to think it’s normal to be different and to go through hardship, that it’s okay to be different or to not fit in.”
The program also supplied the children with tools to create their own artwork which told the story of their own troubles, and at the end of the program it would be collected and given to professional artists to use as inspiration.
Gracey said once the artists had completed their work it would be presented back to the children to show them how they had inspired adults.
Art Vs Depression was a self-funded project and received no government support.
Gracey was looking for more schools to visit and interested parties could call him on 0479 167 759.