Artists, community come together to fight mental illness

Artists and community come together to fight mental illness

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Twenty-one-year old photographer and videographer Blake Barlow has battled depression for many years. On Sunday night live music, beer and art were brought together for the inaugural “Testify Gala” at Pretoria Fields.

He says “I think growing up being bullied and going through certain things, that I feel like a lot of people deal with, help to lead to the depression and suicidal thoughts that I have battled for years.”

Photographer and videographer Blake Barlow, 21, has battled depression for many years.
Photographer and videographer Blake Barlow, 21, has battled depression for many years. (Source: walb)

Eight artists showcased their works which included both music and visual art.

What do all these artists have in common? They have all faced battles against mental illness.

Barlow adds “I feel like events like this help people realize that they’re not alone in it. I didn’t realize so many other people deal with the exact same stuff.”

Barlow adds “I feel like events like this help."
Barlow adds “I feel like events like this help." (Source: walb)

Organizers say the point of the gala is to break the stigma and raise awareness about mental health and hopefully, art can be that bridge “And so I was able to find a lot of freedom in community and art and now photography and how it is its own little niche community," says Barlow.

Organizers say half of the donations raised from the Gala will go to Aspire Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, along with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Albany Chapter.

The event is planned for next year as well.

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