September 22, 2015 4:09 pm
Updated: September 22, 2015 5:17 pm

Mother-daughter duo battle mental illness with art

WATCH ABOVE: A mother and daughter from Salisbury, N.B. are hoping their artwork will help people suffering from mental illness. Global’s Shelley Steeves reports.

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SAINT JOHN – A mother and daughter from Salisbury are hoping their artwork will help people suffering from mental illness.

The works of Amy McKay and Elissa Prosser will soon be on display at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s “Mindscapes” exhibit.

The mother and daughter share much more than their creative minds, they are both survivors of mental illness. McKay says there was a time when she and her daughter both lost the colour in their lives.

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“There was a very long period of time where I didn’t have any creativity nor did I have any desire to be with people or interacting with people in any way at all,” she said.

McKay is a survivor of rape. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder ten years ago and has been she was gripped by debilitating anxiety for years.

“I think the painting and the drawing helped me find my way back,” said McKay “Say I want to get rid of a bad memory so I will draw it. Sometimes it’s just more a feeling.”

It’s a feeling her own daughter knows all too well.

“It’s like you are purging yourself of the negative emotion,” said Elissa Prosser who has struggled with anxiety and depression brought on my borderline personality disorder since her teenage years.

“The normal stressors of life are a lot harder for people like me.”

But much like her mom, art has become a healing form of expression for Prosser too.

“It’s a distraction into a happier world for a little while. Some people like to escape into a novel I like to escape into my art,” said Prosser.

This mother and daughter have always shared a creative mind, they just never imagined that one day it might help them both cope with mental illness.

“She fights really hard, I fight really hard because I know she is fighting for us,” said Prosser.

Now they are both fighting to help others who may have lost the colour in their lives too.

Both artists will have two works of art on display at the Canadian Mental Health Association’s “Mindscapes” exhibit in Saint John starting on October 4th. All of the works on display at the New Brunswick Museum are created by people with mental illness.

“My particular piece is my story how mental illness has affected me. I am reaching out from the black and white into the colour so some people see it as hopeful.”

© 2015 Shaw Media

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