18 November, 2019

Local Typographer Using Art To Talk Mental Health

Morden resident and current student at Canadian Mennonite University, Chloe Friesen. (Photo by Craig Terlson)

Chloe Friesen, the type artists behind Chloe J Letters is using her social media platform to make talking about mental health and illness more comfortable.

“I’ve done various different series and pieces with all sorts of different quotes and words, and my most recent series, every single post tells a story or shares something about mental illness.”

She’s been wanting to share her story for a while, but seeing as she is busy at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, wanted to find a quick way to get people talking, share her experiences, and break stigmas.

“An outlet that I have and I’m pretty lucky to have a pretty solid following on is my Instagram account. I saw that opportunity.”

Friesen says the response has been amazing as people are leaving comments on Instagram or approaching her in person and opening up about there experiences. She notes that some of the best parts are connecting with people she can’t see every day, and being able to share stories she wishes would have been around when she was young.

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Friesen is using her Instagram @ChloeJLetters to share her Mental Health & Illness art series.

Recently, she was also formally diagnosed with a Generalized/Unspecified Anxiety Disorder.

“Mental illness and mental health is definitely something that fluctuates kind of just like any other illness. You have your good moments, bad moments, healing moments, you have your low moments. I’m definitely at a space where I’ve gone through therapy, I take medication, I’ve studied a lot about the way that my brain personally works.”

She adds, focusing more on self-care has helped her get to a positive point in life, but it took work to get past the idea that the only time one needs help is when life is at its worst.

“Everyone has mental health and that’s something that I think more people need to know. Everyone has mental health just like everybody has physical health, and then there’s the case of not everybody has mental illness.”

It can be hard for these people to understand what is going on in someone else’s head, but Friesen says one of the best things people can do is simply ask, ‘What is the best way that I can help you with your mental illness?’

As well, doing your own research to better understand the many illnesses out there can help you find a place to start.

“It’s also important to assemble a bit of a support team and know who you can talk to, and know who’s going to understand,” she says.

Anyone looking to follow her journey and art series can find her on Instagram as @ChloeJLetters.