Artwork featuring 20,000 feelings from Northamptonshire youngsters promotes mental health awareness

An art installation created as part of Mental Health Awareness Day has been unveiled in Northampton at the start of a six-month tour of county libraries.

The collection of brightly colored boxes carries the theme ‘it’s the inside that counts’ and was designed by a group of young people from the Northamptonshire Talk Out Loud programme.

Program manager Tessa Parkinson said: “Inside the boxes are over 20,000 sentiments collected from children and young people across the county and brought together to create this installation as part of the Day of Northamptonshire Mental Health Awareness 2022.

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Children from Abington Vale Primary School took part in the unveiling at Northampton Central Library

“While we can see through the boxes that those feelings are there, we can’t see what they are. That’s why it’s important to really think about what people are feeling…because it’s is the inside that counts.”

The facility was officially unveiled at Northampton Central Library by Councillot Helen Howell, North Northamptonshire Council Libraries Portfolio Holder, John Farndon from the county’s TaMHS scheme and pupils from Abington Vale Primary School.

County Public Health Director Lucy Wightman added: “I am particularly moved that so many young people have been involved in sharing their feelings and I am delighted that this installation is making the rounds of libraries.

“I hope ‘it’s the inside that counts’ continues to be a starting point for conversations about mental health among all ages, but especially our young people and their peers.

“Young people in Northamptonshire have had to deal with a series of changes for almost two years – in their education, their leisure time, their ability to socialize with their peers or see their extended family.

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“Unfortunately, poor mental health not only affects the social wellbeing of our young people, but can also impact their physical health, which is why we are committed to a range of sources of help for young people.

“In addition to The Talk Out Loud program running in county schools, young people can access additional support services, including counseling, through the Reach Partnership.”

The library tour dates are as follows: 7 March – 31 March Northampton Central Library; 6 April – 25 April Wellingborough; 28 April – 26 May Towcester; June 1 – June 20 Corby; June 23 – July 24 Daventry; July 27 – August 15 Rushden; August 18 – September 11 Brackley; September 14 – October 10 Kettering; October 13 – November 6 Weston Favell.

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