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Med Students get arty for charity

Media release: 23 May 2006

Med Students get arty for charity

A group of next-generation doctors are already doing their bit for those they will work with in the future, with a charity art exhibition and sale to benefit the Mental Health Foundation.

Work by students and staff of the Auckland University School of Medicine will be sold alongside those donated by members of the public in the exhibition and sale, which is currently open at the Medical School Café.

“We feel passionate about making a difference,” says fifth year medical student, exhibition organiser Michelle Snape.

“Mental Health is an area in which modern medicine has so much to offer. Modern management can enable people who have depression, bipolar conditions and schizophrenia to lead very productive, full lives.”

“Just as important as treatment is the social environment. The Mental Health Foundation plays a key role in removing the stigma from mental illness. Increasing awareness of mental illness in the wider community, and making it easier for people with mental illness to gain acceptance and encouragement, rather than negativity, from those around them, is a vital part of making it easier for people to get, and stay, well.”

“We’d love to see public understanding of mental illness evolve to the point it has with cancer, in recent years. Cancer is a condition that is now recognised as being very treatable – which has removed a great deal of the stigma that was once attached to it.”

Judi Clements, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation said “We are delighted that the Auckland medical school students have selected us, not only because we will be the recipients of their generosity, but also because they have recognised the need to positively promote mental health. As they are the next generation of doctors, we are much encouraged by their commitment and enlightened approach.”

Miss Snape says organisers have been overwhelmed by the support they’ve been given. “ASB bank has helped us out in covering the costs of the exhibition, and we’ve had enormously generous donations from students, staff, professional artists and the general public alike. We are also very grateful to MCMnetworks, who donated a website and a lot of time to the cause.”

“There is some fantastic art. In particular the works of Peter Cook and Andy Wearn, who are both staff members at the medical school, have been receiving a lot of attention.”

The art caters for many tastes with artists ranging from the receptionist of the University, to the man who preserves their Cadavers at the Medical School – who is actually a startlingly good painter, particularly in romantic Victorian realism, from students at Elam, to a medical student who grows his art in bacteria on Petri dishes, through to film director Ian Mune’s pen sketches. The exhibition has a selection of pieces to appeal to anyone from the serious collector through to the student budget.

The exhibition can be viewed at the Cafe at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Park Road, Grafton, Auckland (across the Road from Auckland and Starship Hospitals, the Auckland Museum and Domain), and online at:

The pieces will be sold to the highest bidder at an online sale ending 8pm, Friday 26th May. A function will be held for the final viewing and offers from 7.30pm that evening at the Auckland Medical School Cafe.

For more information about the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand please contact 09 300 7010.


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