How to Change the Mental Health Conversation
Jeff Sparr was a star player on the Ohio State University men’s tennis team when his mental health issues first flared up.
The anxiety was so intense that it landed Sparr in a psychiatric hospital where he was quickly diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Years later, Sparr was driving home from work one day when a friend called him and mentioned that many people suffering from mental wellness issues find solace in artistic expression, specifically painting.
Jeff decided to take a detour home and stock up on paint supplies in search for one last solution that may bring him peace. The results of painting were so profound that it inspired Jeff to formalize the practice to help others also struggling with mental illness.
PeaceLove, a nonprofit that fosters mental wellness through art and creativity, was founded. The foundation has been successfully spreading the gospel of art as a mental wellness tool for 12 years now.
“You invite people into a safe space, where there is no judgment, and it allows people to utilize their creativity as a way to express themselves,” Sparr says of PeaceLove’s methodology.
“Somehow it gives you the courage to just be. And once you can just be, then you have the opportunity to find some peace of mind.”