And the Winners Are…


We are excited to announce twelve winners of ITE/MH’s Mental Health Month Camera Contest. Meet the winners and see how they plan to use their cameras.

Natasha Bagwe: I have been struggling with my mental health for a long time, and the only thing that has empowered me is music, arts, and my love for animals… I will use the camera to capture moments of my life. The sad, the happy, and the moments when everything seems ok! Personally, I feel art is one of the best outlets for your emotions and helps you to reinvent yourself for the better.”

Nicole Campbell: We hear so many statistics about mental illness, and I would love to use the camera to visually express what it’s like to live with mental illness, and that those of us living with mental illness are more than just numbers…This camera will help me fight for mental health for everyone.”

Erica Clark:  When I look back on the photographs I’ve taken, pinpricks of tears gather behind my eyes: some happy, some sad, all memories. I don’t see the tragedy in the albums, but without the soul-crushing devastation, I wouldn’t value the spirit-saving grace as greatly as I do. I would like to document my recovery in even greater depth.”

Kathyann E Corl, Community Relations, Keystone Human Services MH Leadership Council: “…This camera would be a blessing. It would allow us to demonstrate the message of Recovery, healing, and transforming. The camera will illustrate opportunities to make the journey of transformation a reality today and into the future.”

Louanne Ellingsworth: I love photography as one of my hobbies. I use my cellphone camera now to take pictures as part of my recovery process in my mental health. I love to take pictures of the sky, nature, and much more. I can look back on the beauty in those pictures that I take, so I can still see the beauty during those dark moments in my life.”

Leonard Ginnery, Volunteer, Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA: “…I meet all kinds of new people every day. I support mental recovery 24/7 because I live with mental illness… people know that they can come to me if they want to talk or are feeling down, and I will try to make their day better… I will use the camera for mental health events/ other events about mental health.”

Grantland Hogan: Sometimes it’s a struggle, but I deal with recovery by thinking positive and having goals to work towards…I was able to move from a personal care home to independent living by showing that I can take care of my responsibilities, like laundry, grocery shopping, and taking my medication as prescribed. I have been living independently for more than two years. I want to take pictures of how I’m doing with my goals. I might take pictures of walks to the park or my apartment since living independently has helped my recovery.”

John Meikle, Rehab Coach, Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health/Mental Retardation Program: In our community, we have a diverse group with a variety of creative skills that would only add to our recovery if recorded and shared regularly. These very skills can be applied to using the camera to showing a digital diary of our achievements, our learning, our friendship—at events in the community or at our psych-social rehab program. If willing, contributors could opt to present this record at local venues as a testament to the on-going positivity of mental health recovery and to balance the often negative view others may have of the mental health community.”

Carl Mosier, Certified Peer Specialist\Mental Health Advocate, The Advocacy Alliance: I will take pictures of the people who have been helped through the Recovery groups I ran. The ITE/MH and MHAPA Facebook pages will see these people living their lives successfully in the community, and I will catch pictures of them at home and work because that is where their Recovery journeys have taken them.”

Theresa Myers: I will use my camera to capture events in my life that I would like to share with others on social media. I have a beautiful eight month old toy poodle puppy that has aided in my recovery, capturing photos of his ongoing support will be fun.”

Samuel C. Skipper III, Treasurer, Huntingdon County Drop In Center, INC: I’ll use the camera to take pictures of our consumers having fun at our different activities we do with them.”

Loretta Sysak: As an individual in the care giving profession, I utilize photography to care for my own mental health. I love taking pictures of people and things I love. I find it relaxing and rewarding.”

During the next year, we look forward to seeing and sharing the winners’ pictures of recovery. Subscribe to our blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where we’ll post all photos we receive.

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