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Posted on Sep 29 2023 by Fiona Bailey

centre:mk the main shopping centre in Milton Keynes is hosting the St Andrew's Healthcare's Hope Exhibition to mark World Mental Health Day on October 10. 

The photography features people who have been on the brink of “giving up” on life due to their mental health and they have bravely shared their recovery stories to raise awareness. 

The aim of the exhibition to help break the stigma of complex mental health. The exhibition is being displayed for two weeks at centre:mk’s Midsummer Arcade space. 

The photography exhibition can be found alongside John Lewis from Friday, September 29 to Friday, October 13 where visitors can walk among the panels and read about each patient’s individual journey. A total of five patients, who have all been sectioned at some point due to varying mental health difficulties, agreed to take part.   

Each individual was captured holding an object that holds significant or sentimental meaning to them because it gave them hope along the way. In a separate shot they were captured with a St Andrew’s Healthcare staff member, chosen by the patient for the support they gave throughout their recovery journey.

St Andrew’s Healthcare’s CEO Dr Vivienne McVey said: “A large part of what we do as a mental health charity is to help people find some sense of hope. Sometimes finding hope can be incredibility difficult for the people we care for, but hope is that one thing that insists something better awaits us, if we only keep fighting for it.

“Through this powerful photo exhibition we wanted to show that recovery is possible, if you find hope. It showcases the inspiring stories of five people who’ve been in our care and what hope means for them. We also wanted to show other people who may be experiencing similar mental health struggles that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“We care for some of the most clinically complex patients in the country, many of whom when they are first admitted think their future is bleak and empty. Our staff are compassionate, empathetic and consistent, they make our patients feel valued and cared for, reminding them that they deserve to live meaningful, fulfilled lives.

“We’re hugely proud of our Hope Exhibition and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have played a part in bringing the project to life, especially the people in our care who have agreed to raise awareness of complex mental health needs. Also a huge thank you to centre:mk for its support and agreeing to host the exhibition to mark World Mental Health Day.”

Kevin Duffy, Director of centre:mk, said: “Being in the very centre of Milton Keynes means we are so much more than a shopping centre, we serve the community. That’s why we think it’s important we support national campaigns and give charities the space to deliver key messages to members of the public.

“The Hope Exhibition has a powerful meaning, as it’s showing us all that even in our darkest moments, there is still hope. And as long as you’ve got hope, then we can battle adversity and cope with uncertainty about the future.

“We are very excited about hosting the exhibition which we hope will give our visitors a different kind of experience. alongside the huge range of shopping and dining options the centre is already well known for.”