An intricate drawing of a person holding their head with thoughts building up above

Exploring Mental Health Through Art – Braidhurst High School

Blog by Christina McMellon.

In September I went to a fantastic event organised by Mental Health Foundation. One of the things that they did on the day was to judge a young people’s art competition where all the artworks were on the theme of mental health. I was very impressed by the standard of the art.

After the event I got speaking to a member of staff from Mental Health Foundation and I found out that many of the entries had come from the same school in Motherwell.

Those of you who know me know that I love to get out and about and talk to new people, so I decided to take a wee trip to Braidhurst High School to meet some of the artists and find out what inspired their art. I hope you enjoy their words and their art below.

Please feel free to comment to tell us which is your favourite picture or to tell us what any of the art makes you think about.

Let’s keep the conversation going.


And the WINNER is…

An intricate drawing of a person holding their head with thoughts building up above

“[when I start painting] I was thinking about friends who feel depressed. The tree shows how they start thinking about negative things and then it grows bigger and bigger…and the more the person thinks negative about themselves the harder it gets.” (Ozioma Eunice, 17)

And some other amazing art…

A drawing about body image - a thin woman having a distorted view of her own body

“That’s how she actually is and that’s how she sees herself in the mirror. I don’t know much about mental health but it’s important. You see on social media people thinking they are fat when they aren’t.” (Aaron, 16)

A drawing of a head with spinning wheels turning inside

“It’s about what’s going on in folk’s heads when they’ve got mental health, it’s confused, all the different colours and the gears in their head are moving, like they don’t know how to think right. It’s a big thing for folk to go through and they find it hard to talk to folk about it. There’s been a lot of that recently in Motherwell especially, a lot of suicides.” (Jacob, 16)

A line drawing of a person stuck in a bottle with their toughts

“It’s about depression and they are like lost in their own thoughts.  If you’re not feeling yourself and you don’t tell anyone about it and you bottle it up you might end up doing something severe.” (Dylan, 16)

A young woman crying and having negative thoughts 

“We’ve been doing doing PSE in school and the teacher was talking about mental health and we watched clips of young people talking about their experiences and when we were told we were doing this art I just remembered one of the girls. She was a young mum and her friends kept on saying “ohh…come on out, come on out” and she was saying no but in her head she thought everyone didn’t like her and were slagging her cos they were embarrassed by her…but her friends were genuinely serious and worried about her and trying to help. But she was just keeping it all in.

I see young people on facebook having the courage to say they are feeling down…but most people, you see you’ve got a nice photo of yourself and you go onto Instagram to post it and you’re thinking ‘oh that’s such a nice photo, I’m so excited to post that photo’,  but then you see someone else has posted a nicer photo and you say ‘oh never mind, I’m not going to post that photo, it’s not a nice photo’. You just compare yourself all the time.” (Connie, 16)

A line drawing of many faces with different angry expressions

“It shows different emotions in one person’s head. I was thinking about the names people call you and how it can really hurt somebody’s feelings. You just constantly think about it and it doesn’t go away.” (Alicia, 16)

A line drawing of a girl who pretends everything is fine but has a lot of negative thoughts about herself

“It’s basically about how you say you feel fine but actually what you are thinking is something totally different.” (Lorraine, 16)

A photograph of a schoolgirl with negative words over her figure

“Sometimes these words are in people’s heads constantly. I wanted to illustrate the thoughts that some young people have about other people’s opinions about them.” (Katie, 14)

And, finally, a comment from one student who didn’t get to finish her artwork:

“I didn’t get to finish it but mine was about anxiety. It was a picture of a girl holding her face and there were monsters screaming at her all these hurtful things like ‘you’re not good enough’ and ‘nobody likes you’ and all that. I based it on me, cos I have anxiety and I wanted to show how it affects your everyday life, just how it makes you feel.” (Sophie, 16)

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