ART has been used to raise awareness of mental health.

Colchester Institute students studying foundation art and design created pieces which went on show at the town's Firstsite gallery.

It was supported by the college's charity of the year, Mid and North Essex Mind, whose staff spoke to students about mental health and shared real life experiences.

The exhibition aimed to alert people of the enormity of mental health illness and encourage more openness around the subject.

Charlie Dixon, course leader, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students to experience what it’s like to install a public exhibition working to a tight time scale.

"There was also an overwhelming sense of responsibility from the students to tackle such a subject with sensitivity, the aim was to raise awareness of mental health and bring it to the forefront to encourage people to talk about it. The feedback at the exhibition was extremely positive and the work exhibited was a testimony to our hard working students.”

Holly Smart, marketing and fundraising manager at Mid and North Essex Mind, added: “We were absolutely delighted when the art foundation course contacted us to kick start this project and were pleased to be able to talk to the students. Everyone involved showed a real interest and passion to understand. The work produced showed such an innovative approach to the subject, we were really impressed with the results.

"Using art to raise the profile of the importance of mental health was a great idea and we hope their work has inspired others to be more open to talking about mental health; we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it.”