Features / World Mental Health Day

Welcome to World Mental Health Day 2018 on It’s Nice That

In an age of increasing uncertainty, instability, and anxiety, thinking about our own mental health — and that of those around us — feels more urgent and necessary than ever. Today marks World Mental Health Day, an initiative that’s been run by the World Federation for Mental Health since 1992. Mental health problems, can, and obviously do, affect anyone, any day of the year, but as British mental health charity Mind says, “today is a great day to show your support for better mental health and start looking after your own wellbeing.”

By now the statistics around mental health are well known but bear repeating: one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem every year, and in England, one in every six people report a common mental health problem each week. It’s an issue that affects us all.

The creative industries are demanding and difficult. Rewarding, yes, but demanding and difficult, too. There are tight turnarounds to meet, clients to appease, invoices to chase, last-minute amends that need attention ASAP, and the day-to-day issue of having to remain creatively active and alert on days when you’d much rather browse Netflix in bed.

It’s Nice That has gathered together a multi-disciplinary collection of creatives from across the world, who consider the implications that mental health and wellbeing has on their practice; with the intention of creating a virtual space of calm and tranquillity, somewhere to sit and think and take time to reflect.

Out there in the real world, we’ve found ourselves in Austrian Art Brut residences and east London zine-making workshops. We’ve spoken to moving-image masters Metahaven, extraordinarily honest photographer Steph Wilson, and the team at Dazed Beauty have given us an insight into how the way we look can have radical effects on how we feel.

At the risk of sounding like a continuity announcer, if you have been affected by any of the issues discussed in today’s coverage, and would like to find out more, donate, or just have a chat; please contact one of the dozens of incredible charities — including Mind, and CALM — in the UK doing amazing work around mental health.

  • Art-brut-gugging-feature-worldmentalhealthday-itsnicethat-list Features / World Mental Health Day “There's no difference between artists with special needs and others”: The story of The House of Artists

    Approximately 20 kilometres north of Vienna is a small building on a hill, adjacent to the Vienna Woods. It is known as The House of Artists and belongs to the village Maria Gugging. Despite its unremarkable and provincial setting, this house is one-of-a-kind, nurturing some of the most interesting artistic talent in the world.

    Jyni Ong
  • Metahaven_-_eurasia__still-list-int Features / World Mental Health Day “Wrap facts in fictions, and fictions in facts”: Metahaven on its ICA show, Version History

    Vinca Kruk and Daniel van der Velden started working together when they met at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, in the early 2000s. Their first piece of design-led research was focused on the Principality of Sealand, a former World War II sea fortress in international waters off the coast of Suffolk. “We worked with the stories that surrounded the self-proclaimed nation, not necessarily aiming to arrive at something finished”, says Vinca. Their time at the Academie aligned with the unofficial independent state’s time as an unregulated data haven, and their project defined a hypothetical identity for Sealand. This was also when they forged their collective identity, and found the name Metahaven. “That moment coincided with technological changes, the internet, social media and in 2005, YouTube being founded,” Vinca explains. “All of these developments have been influential in how we make work, how we arrive at work, and how we work through work.”

    Version History, which opened on 03 October at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), is Metahaven’s first solo exhibition in the UK. The show features a new moving-image commission, Eurasia (Questions on Happiness), as well as their films Hometown and Information Skies, all of which consider the overlaps between geopolitical, technological and emotional concerns.

    Billie Muraben