Applaud Public Art as Therapy for Mentally Ill


Target: Danielle Hark, Creator of Broken Light Collective

Goal: Thank Ms. Hark for helping those with mental illnesses find relief through photography

A new project harnesses the healing power of art to offer an outlet for those affected by mental illness.  In creating Broken Light Collective, an online gallery, freelance photo editor Danielle Hark, sought to build a support network for photographers living with or affected by mental illness. With contributors from one hundred and fifty countries, Broken Light Collective is a safe haven for those struggling with any number of mental disorders, including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress, borderline personality disorder, and eating disorders, according to a recent article in the New York Times.

The therapeutic benefits of creative activities like photography have been well-documented, but the unique power of Broken Light Collective comes not from science but from the personal relief Ms. Hark discovered in her own photography. Herself affected by depression and bipolar disorder, Ms. Hark found inspiration for the gallery on one particularly difficult day, as she lay crying on her bathroom floor. Picking up her phone, she began to take pictures, noticing how her breathing gradually relaxed, and she began to feel more present.

Many contributors to Broken Light Collective still see therapists and use medication, but that does not take away from the importance of having the safe space that the gallery offers them. Sharing work with peers and among a larger global community makes the self-affirmative statement that one does not need to be ashamed of a diagnosis of mental illness. Now a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the realities of mental illness, Broken Light Collective also demonstrates a compelling way to address the persistent stigma that those afflicted must deal with.

By signing the petition below, you can show your support for the Broken Light Collective, a poignant reminder that no one with a mental illness has to feel alone.


Dear Ms. Hark,

I am writing to applaud your creation of the online photography gallery Broken Light Collective. Your organization provides a creative outlet and sense of community for those living with or affected by mental illness around the world. You are also helping fight the stigma that all too often accompanies a diagnosis of mental illness.

Harnessing the transformative power of art, your project makes the important statement that mental illness does not have to be seen as negative or shameful. Rather, the work your contributors share invites reflection into how we might begin to deepen our understanding of what it means to be affected by a mental illness, ultimately coming to support each other better on our journeys of healing. I thank you sincerely for your inspiring work, and wish you the best of luck moving forward with your mission.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: GaryTube via flickr

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