Looking at life through new lens helps heal photography program participants

SRT staff member Philip Turner with the new Mental Health service banners which feature images taken by his photography group.
SRT staff member Philip Turner with the new Mental Health service banners which feature images taken by his photography group.

FINDING beauty in the little things has had a healing effect for participants of a group photography program run by Rockingham Peel Group Mental Health Service.

Krystal, Rachel and Michelle join staff member Philip Turner each Thursday for a photography session including a social coffee break on location anywhere from the Mandurah estuary to Kings Park.

Krystal said the experience had given her a new found appreciation for nature and an opportunity to step outside her own world.

“Photography makes you take a closer look at your surroundings and express it in a way that is unique to you,’’ she said.

“When you are looking through the lens, really focusing on your subject, nothing else matters in that moment.

“We all look forward to the group each week.

“It has reminded us that life can still have its enjoyable moments, even while living with a mental illness.’’

A growing body of evidence supports the use of safe and nurturing environments having a direct effect on a person’s ability to learn, enabling them to uptake new skills and abilities.

Including the photography progam, the Specialist Rehabilitation Team runs several group programs with a focus on creating calm environments for participants to develop practical skills and build confidence that can translate to their everyday lives.

Mr Turner believes the photography program provides many benefit.

“The group setting allows them to socialise and get out of the house to explore new places and learn new things together,’’ he said.

“Photography in itself is a very powerful tool.

“You have to go looking for your subject, it doesn’t come to you – much like all the best things in life.

“Editing the images also provides an opportunity for reflection and builds computer and editing skills.”

Photos taken by the group around the Peel and Rockingham areas were recently used in a series of banners to promote Rockingham Peel Group Mental Health Service.