|Sarah Salice (left) Rebecca Thomas (right) (Photo by Mark Vasey)|
I had not spoken to Salice in a few years, but we attended high school together at The Harvey School. It was last Monday when I turned on my Facebook account, and saw that I had received a message from Salice about "The Mind's Eye."
Salice told me that "The Mind's Eye"would be a art show featuring bipolar artists, which would help fight the stigma of mental illness, while simultaneously raising awareness. She also said the event would be a fundraiser for The Balanced Mind Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides support services to people effected by bipolar disorder.
Once I found out about "The Mind's Eye," I instantly knew I had to go. I knew it was something I wanted to support.
I was not disappointed when I went to "The Mind's Eye," held at The Harvey School on Sunday, April 21, 2013. The event was the senior project for Salice and Thomas, and was a overwhelming success.
Artwork, provided by seven artists with bipolar disorder including Salice, covered the walls of the arts center at The Harvey School. Their was an abundance of visual art, which showed the artistic abilities that people with bipolar disorder can show, as well as their ability to be proficient. Most of the art was inspired by bipolar disorder.
It is a cathartic experience of growth to be around others who are publicly discussing their own experiences with bipolar disorder, in an effort to fight stigma and raise awareness. It takes a certain level of acceptance to come out publicly and it can be emotional.
Salice, from Westchester, N.Y., along with Thomas, from Cape Town, South Africa, made a press conference style statement in front of family and friends. Salice was overwhelmed with emotion as she shared about her own bipolar disorder, and fought hard to try to hold back the tears. It was a lovely moment, and the crowd erupted in applause when the two young women finished speaking.
|Some of Sarah Salice's artwork (Photo by Mark Vasey)|
Between conversations I checked out the food, which included small sandwiches and fruit kebabs. I was in heaven when I discovered those pleasures.
I was able to speak with both Salice and Thomas before the event ended. The two young women met in college, where they roomed together at one point, and have remained friends ever since.
Thomas' background in mental health comes from her mother, who is a psychologist, and from her experiences getting to know people with mental illness. She was also very grateful to have been able to put on "The Mind's Eye" with Salice.
The event was a success, and $2,510 were raised. I had a great time, and it is always nice to be part of something that promotes awareness for bipolar disorder in a positive way. It was very admirable for Salice and Thomas to put on "The Mind's Eye," and for Salice to be so open about her own experiences with bipolar disorder.
Being open and sharing about bipolar disorder is the best way to educate and reduce stigma. I hope that others can look at this event and use it as inspiration to raise awareness in their own ways. I know that I left re-inspired to make a difference for those of us with bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses too.