J Peachy, a Canada Post Messenger of Hope? Hopefully
I hope you can consider supporting my stamp designs in the competition to support the Canada Post Foundation for Mental Health. As an arts based advocate for Mental Health, everything I do is connected to the values of creating a conversation around mental health. There are a number of ways I have approached my advocacy, including the creation of a National award-winning Arts and Mental Health program called Sound Therapy Radio. Also, as an artist I have experienced the power of creativity in healing but also as a powerful means of dialog
“Art has the ability to speak where words cannot”
I am hoping that my design has visual appeal but also that I will have the tremendous opportunity to be an ambassador in this cause. I commit to being the best voice I can for those that aren’t able, because as at one point in my life I was in that same place.
my design submissions
My goal is to get into the top five finalists, this phase ends Jan 17th to do this I will need your help in the following way
1) go to the website http://www.deliverhope.ca/gallery.php?user_id=380
pick one or more designs you like
2) Click the Facebook Share Link and tweet the post to your twitter
3) tell five (5) other people to do the same procedure daily
For more detail on my story and why someone should vote for me, please see the below;
A Survivor like the rest
As a consumer-survivor, I know about the pain, loss, struggle, stigma and denial that comes with those with mental illness. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder late in life, however that didn’t mean I didn’t have it until then. I had a high paying job in the corporate system; there is a blurred line between madness and the hyper productivity that industrial environments thrive on. I’ve had tragic personal losses from my health issue, I lost my job, I lost my best friend and wife who could no longer take the mood swings, I was in so much financial trouble we had to sell our dream home.
At 34 years old I had to move back with my parents. After a deep depression I was certified by the BC Ministry of Health, escorted by police and hospitalized at Sherbrooke Center at Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminister. There were many stops and starts in my life and it has been a difficult road back, just when you think you have it beat, you crash again. I have many broken relationships, which have lost trust and faith in me, Even after I got up again, I flew high and then I crashed again to the point I had to declare bankruptcy. Throughout this whole process I had the blessing of an amazing family and support system who unconditionally believed in me.
Committed to Art
With respect to my art career, it was never something that crossed my mind growing up. I had pursued and completed a business degree at Simon Fraser University and was very successful in the business world. However, during my hospitalization I was introduced to Art Therapy. In that session I had an epiphany and cathartic experience through art. It is something that was a real defining point in my life, as it was a catalyst to a different type of thinking. Since then I have committed to my art and it continues to be a means for survival. It has been one of my most valuable means of therapy and it has brought an amazing community that believes in me.
Sound Therapy Radio and Television
As part of my commitment to Art and the power of healing and dialogue around Mental Health issues I created a radio program called Sound Therapy Radio at CJSF 90.1 FM; a Campus and Community Radio show at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, BC). November 2009 was our first broadcast, since then we have been able to produce about 90 episodes. In 2010 we won a National Radio Award for a national simulcast in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, during the Olympics where we interviewed homeless artists and musicians. In May of 2010 I produced and hosted a broadcast to raise awareness during CMHA Mental Health Week , we featured renown singer songwriter Dan Mangan. We have had many guests from artists, advocates, survivors professionals on our program. Other guests include Senator Michael Kirby and Gillian Mulvale of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, I believe in the premise that “Art is a means for survival”
In 2010 I won two local station awards including best remote broadcast and programmer of the year.
Also in 2010, we begun broadcasting some of our content through V Community TV on Shaw Cable 4 Vancouver. In 2011 Sound Therapy Team will be producing and broadcasting a full 30 minute show on Arts and Mental Health also also on Shaw Cable 4 Vancouver. Some of our video work is captured online on youtube . There are over 600,000 cable subscribers that our program will reach.
I am seen by many as an advocate and speak regularly about the Mental Health including a noted presenter at Mental Health Camp, I have presented on the topic of Arts, Mental Health and activism at local Social Change Forums including one at Gallery Gachet. I was the first ever presenter at Pecha Kucha Night in Coquitlam to very positive reviews.
My advocacy expresses itself in many ways not only in my art but in my day to day living. Many people and trust and confide in me for the issues. I am not afraid to provide some light to someone who is in their darkest place, I have close friends talk to me openly about suicide and have been able to help them out. I also know my limits and strive to know what other resources are out there. As an advocate I expect these situations, I prepare as best I can and ensure that my time and projects are set such that I can drop my paint brushes at any moment and be there for one in need.
Creative Healing and Arts Expression
I believe in many different forms of creativity and do my best to understand and live them. In 2010 I was selected to be part of the Stand up for Mental Health Comedy Class, which utilizes comedy as a mode of healing and to reduce stigma. Within this program I have been featured on television, radio and print. As a comic, I have performed on stage at events that supported groups including, Lookout Society, Military Families who experienced PTSD. University Campus Mental Health initiatives at SFU, UBC and Capilano Unversity, Dr. Hamish Nichol and Pivot Legal Society.
In 2010 I was also selected to be a collective member of Gallery Gachet, an artist run center that strives to demystify issues of mental illness through art and dialogue. As an active member I have produced a many number of events and started the New Media Working group at the Gallery. I have entered many Gallery open call submissions and have exhibited many different places, including:
Touched by Fire 2009, Royal Ontario Museum Toronto
Art Gallery of Penticton
City of Vancouver, Coast Mental Health Connect Art Show
City of Vancouver Disabilities Day
City of Vancouver Intersections fence project
Gallery Gachet ECO Madness
Watershed Arts Cafe
East Side Culture Crawl
Watershed Arts Cafe
Arts Connect Art Walk, Port Moody BC
For the first time in Canadian History, the general public has been available to submit a design, the fact that the benefiting cause is Mental Health, is a dream that I could have never imagined even in my own peculiar world. I hope I get the opportunity to be that ambassador as it will allow me to share the message and hope to deliver light to those living in darkness.