A COMPETITION has been launched to give borough residents with an experience of mental health issues the chance to express themselves through art.

The Dawn Jones Art Prize was set up nine years ago, by Maureen Jones in memory of her daughter, who committed suicide in 2005, aged 25, following a long battle with depression.

Supported by the Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, the competition aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.

Mrs Jones said: "It has been very rewarding to hear so many people say things like they had given up art when they were ill, but that the Dawn Jones Art Prize had inspired them to start getting involved in artwork again.”

Gary Graham, chief executive of the trust, said: “We’re really pleased to be supporting this competition, which we hope will raise awareness and reduce the stigma that is often associated with mental health.

“We know that art can be therapeutic for many people, and we’d like to encourage anyone with an interest in art – whether as a beginner or as someone more experienced – to get involved and enter our competition.”

Entries will be accepted from anyone with close experience of mental ill-health.

Pieces must depict either what makes the artist happy or what they are hopeful for.

Entrants must 18 or over, live in Dudley borough and be happy for their work to be exhibited if shortlisted.

Artwork can be of any medium, or combination of media, as long as it can be hung onto a wall and is between A5 and A1 in size.

The artist should also attach a short paragraph about how mental health has touched their life and how art helps them.

Two winners will receive £100 in vouchers of their choice, along with the opportunity for their work to be displayed long-term in a public building in either Dudley or Walsall.

Full competition guidelines can be found at www.dwmh.nhs.uk/artprize.