Art as therapy for Hastings mental health carers

Claudia Richardson at the Art of Journaling for Carers Exhibition.
Claudia Richardson at the Art of Journaling for Carers Exhibition.

A program offering art journaling for mental health carers in Port Macquarie is having fantastic results.

For the past three years Mission Australia has been offering the program in partnership with Grace Church Port Macquarie.

"Grace Church came to us and said we really want to help do an art-based project, we can supply the venue, materials, tuition," Mission Australia's Claudia Richardson said.

"We said of course."

The classes have had input from local artists Colleen Palmer, Jane Wright and Yvonne Kiely and writing help from author Teresa Bell.

"A lot of the carers had never done much art before, they hadn't done expressive sorts of things so they learnt a lot of techniques," Ms Richardson said.

"It was a way for carers to express and enjoy themselves in a safe and relaxing space."

An art journal is similar to a written journal, except that it may incorporate colours, collage, images, patterns and other materials, sometimes called mixed media art.

"Art journaling is a space to develop art and craft skills plus it is a healthy, experimental and expressive outlet that can evolve into a highly supportive form of self-care," said Ms Richardson.

Mental Health carer Lynne attends the classes.

"It is really good because we learn new skills," she said.

"It takes you away from other things that are happening in your life."

An exhibition of the carers work is currently being displayed at Port Macquarie Library over October.

There will also be a special morning tea celebrating Carers Week, Mental Health Month and the beautiful Art of Journaling for Carers Exhibition on Monday, October 14 at 10.30am.

Carers Week runs from October 13-19.

To find out more about the art journaling classes you can email