PRESCRIBING A BOTTLE OF PAINT: Louise Tait is using her art studio to provide support for mental health.
PRESCRIBING A BOTTLE OF PAINT: Louise Tait is using her art studio to provide support for mental health. Nicole Zurcas

Bottle of paint a new prescription for mental health

STUDIO Style Inside Out's Louise Tait is tapping into her passion for art to help raise awareness and provide support for mental health in Warwick.

After attending a Lifeline suicide prevention course, Mrs Tait said she wanted to normalise mental health and open the conversation in town.

"When we have these conversations with people who have these suicidal tendencies, we need to make sure we're there to support each other,” Mrs Tait said.

"As a community we need to keep making sure we're upgrading our listening skills, acknowledging there's something happening in that person's life and finding the right resources for them.”

The Warwick artist said there was the potential for the arts to play a greater role in supporting mental health outcomes in regional towns.

"I started these workshops because art is really good for our mental health, it brings joy into our lives, it allows people to have another outlet or try something new while creating and making friends,” Mrs Tait said.

"The process of art making assists in improving one's physical and mental wellbeing.

"This promotes personal development, increase one's coping skills and enhances cognitive function.”

With an average of 15 creative workshops a month, her classes are selling out and growing by popular demand.

Participants are fans of the free environment and creative focus the classes provide.

"It's a sense of community and time out from the children, For me it's very good for my mental health because of the flow and you're not focusing on anything else and you're very mindful and working on what you're doing at the time,” Katherine Jones said.

"I was going through some things at the start of the year and the classes have helped me a lot, I think there needs to be more creative options like this for help,” Debbie Lawrance said.

Mrs Tait said mental health challenges have touched a lot of friends and the workshops provide a supportive connection for those people.

"If I know one of my clients are going through something it's a matter of sending through a message and touching base with them, whether it's from myself or another class mate, it's about making sure we're all staying connected and no one is falling through the gaps,” she said.

Through her workshops Mrs Tait aims to assist in increasing one's awareness of self and others within a non-clinical environment.

"I'm trying to create a safe space that isn't clinical-looking, for people to be able to express themselves freely and open up,” Mrs Tait said.

Mrs Tait said the Lifeline Assist workshop showed her how important it was to ask the question, "Are you having suicidal thoughts?” and gave her the knowledge to assist from there.



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