Luna: Light in Darkness was a fine example of people taking care of each other.
While more people have become outspoken about mental health awareness both online and IRL, we’ve still got a long way to go before the stigma goes away completely.
So when we heard that there was going to be an event that combines awareness with art, we immediately wanted to go. Luna: Light in Darkness was a mental health and creativity fair put together by Stellar Stranger‘s Apple Nocom for the benefit of the Philippine Mental Health Association.
Apple, who confesses that the fair was somewhat a product of her mania (she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder), put together the event in partnership with organizations like Tala: Mental Wellness and Silakbo PH, both orgs that aim to expand the conversation about mental health through creative means. They also partnered with non-government organization Youth in Mental Health coalition.
Together, the people behind these orgs wanted to create an event with the primary purpose of fun, aside from just fundraising — an event “that’s related to art where people could just come together and celebrate and gather with a ‘hey, let’s take care of each other’ kind of vibe.”
Walking into The Performing Arts and Recreation Center (PARC) Foundation last Saturday afternoon was like walking into a casual get-together among friends. The fair’s Art Mart was just getting started. With banigs on the floor and animated conversation going on around the venue, you could say that we felt right at home.
In keeping with the event’s advocacy, Apple says that many of the sellers at Luna’s Art Mart were battling with their own illnesses. Art is an outlet for these people, and the bazaar was one way to help them raise funds for treatment. It was the first time for some of them, like Young STAR contributor Shy Cabajar, who did on-the-spot portraits, and Happy Stress Pastries, which began as a way to channel the baker’s stress into something more positive. Others sellers, like Santiago Brewery and Malthouse and Art teriole, were simply friends or mental health advocates.
“Statistically, stigma, or lack of awareness of mental health is the number one thing that prevents people from getting help.” She recalls her own experience getting diagnosed and treated after she discovered a list of depression systems. “If I hadn’t seen that, I would’ve thought that I was just crazy, or worthless, she says.”
With workshops for everything from watercolor painting to portrait photography, to hip hop dancing, and a spoken word and storytelling open mic later in the evening, this was definitely a fun community effort to raise awareness for mental health.