Gaining balance through art

Rhonda Thomson, one of the presenters at the OSU event “The Arts Saved My Life,” showcasing examples of her photography, some incorporating sculptural pieces. 

The Baro Staff

On Thursday, May 8, Counseling and Psychological Services hosted the event “The Arts Saved My Life” in the Memorial Union Ballroom from 7-9 p.m. The event was created and held as the last of a series of events to raise awareness about the silencing stigmas around mental health.

At the event, Oregon State University students shared their creative outlets for dealing with mental health issues, including music, artwork and photography. Along with their work, the students spoke about how expressing themselves through art has impacted how they handle their own mental health.

Rhonda Thomson, a senior studying photography, presented various examples of her photography, some incorporating sculptural pieces she has made by hand. According to Thomson, art has helped her deal with her depression and anxiety, as well as her experiences with being empathic, meaning that she physically feels empathy for other people.

“Art saves my life because everything I create, it builds this protective shelter around me and it helps me, it feeds me, it’s the air I breathe and it’s like oxygen to me. Without it, I suffocate,” Thomson said.

According to Thomson, mental health issues are something that most people deal with on a daily basis and individuals at OSU need to take action in breaking the silences around mental health stigmas.

“I think mental health is one of those things that we don’t talk about enough,” Thomson said. “A lot of people think that they should keep quiet about mental health when really, the one thing you need to do is talk about it. I know, for me, I used to have to keep quiet about it because I felt this shame, but the more I talk about it, the more I gain control over it.”