REDUCING STIGMA: Creative Director of Out From The Mist, Michael Lockwood.
REDUCING STIGMA: Creative Director of Out From The Mist, Michael Lockwood. contributed

Photography comp helps to bring mental health into focus

MICHAEL Lockwood is aiming to recognise and celebrate the achievements and efforts of everyday ordinary people battling what can be an extraordinary illness by launching a unique photography competition focusing on mental health: Out From The Mist.

Being no stranger to mental illness, the Charleville resident was diagnosed with treatment resistant depression ten years ago. He now manages his illness with medication, a healthy lifestyle and annual Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in Brisbane.

Partnering with Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia, Out From the Mist is open to anyone who has had a mental illness, or to their family, friends and workmates.

"We're asking people to submit photos and a brief written description that tells us something about their experience of mental illness,” Mr Lockwood said.

He points out that some of the entries will inevitably be sad and painful because that's the nature of mental illness, while others will be positive and encouraging hope.

"I'm not saying that I'm proud to have a mental illness, nor am I proud to be taking medications, getting ECT treatment from time to time, and I'm certainly not proud of the times where I've attempted to take my life,” he said.

"But, for better or worse, this illness is an integral part of who I am - and I'm proud of who I am - depression and all.”

The Western Times will feature a selection of entries from our readers during Mental Health Week, with the best photograph winning a $500 prize.

To be eligible for the Western Times Prize simply mention 'Western Times' in the your photo description.

To enter the competition, visit the website at http://www.outfrom themist.com/, with entries open until September 14.