In 2018, the Bruce Country Museum and Cultural Centre hosted the exhibit ‘Breaking the Silence’ during Mental Health Week. This year, building on that exhibit is the ‘Open Doorways’ exhibition that explores mental health through storytelling and visual photographic imagery.
Created by Melissa and John Comyn, visitors are able to explore various individual mental health journeys through the lens of photography and the written word.
Melissa Comyn, a mother, Registered Nurse and Artist talks openly about her dealing with depression. “My depression has changed everything for me – how effective I am at work, how I sleep, eat, love others, concentrate, listen and how I judge people’s reactions to me.”
Gordon Ross was in the Canadian Armed Force for 28 years and was a peace-keeper in Bosnia for nine months where he saw the atrocities of war. In 1999, he was diagnosed with PTSD but was able to maintain and do his job. Unfortunately, he was in an accident that was not his fault and, two years later, ws medically discharged from the military. For anyone who has spent a working career in the military, it becomes a way of life and often it is difficult, if not impossible, to function in civilian life.
Ross speaks openly about his PTSD and how it impacts his entire life. Divorced three times and hospitalized several times, today he and his companion service dog, Keva, are getting to know each other.
“When I look back on my father’s life and what he experienced,” said Murray Clark, “I now know that what he had was PTSD. Back in those days however, there was no diagnosis. They called it ‘shell shock’ and the men who came back from the war didn’t talk about it so everything was kept bottled up inside.”
The Museum gallery is filled with stories and photographs of vulnerable people who stepped up to speak about not only their on mental health issues but to break the stigma that surrounds talking about mental health.
The exhibition was made possible through the partnership and sponsorship of several organizations:
- Canadian Mental Health Association Grey Bruce (CMHAGB)
- Grey Bruce Health Services Mental Health & Addiction Services
- Saugeen Shores Community Fund
- Community Foundation Grey Bruce
- Bruce County Museum& Cultural Centre
The exhibit remains until June 2nd at the Bruce County County Museum. For more information, call 519-797-2080.