Skip to navigation Skip to content
A semi-abstract and metaphorical painting of a brain representing mental health

28 November 2022

It’s Mind Matters week! Meet student artist Chris, hear from AFL legend Eddie Betts and focus on your wellbeing

How are you feeling? Being a uni student isn’t always easy and, as the end of the year approaches, it’s completely normal to be worn out, stressed or just in need of a little break. Or perhaps you’ve been coping with a long-term personal issue that’s starting to take a toll on your physical or mental health.

We encourage you to take some time out to focus on your mental health and wellbeing. This should be a priority for everyone – whether you experience anxiety, depression or another type of mental ill health; you’re keen to create healthy and sustainable habits that boost your wellbeing; or you’d just like to feel better about yourself.

That’s the motivation behind Mind Matters – Deakin’s mental wellbeing movement. Running throughout Week 4 – from Monday 28 November to Friday 2 December – Mind Matters offers helpful information, strategies and resources to enhance your mental health and wellbeing.

Throughout the week, we’re running some seriously inspiring events! From deeply personal accounts of the effects of racism to opportunities to connect with other students and an amazing forum to have positive conversations about mental health, you’ll be challenged, moved and stimulated. See what’s happening online and on campus.

How Chris uses art to ‘visualise a feeling’

Art can be such a fantastic form of therapy, either to deal with personal struggles or to share feelings of joy, love, stress and despair.

Psychology student Chris TomkinsGraduate Diploma of Psychological Science student Chris Tomkins, who’ll be completing his final trimester online in Trimester 1, 2023, is also an accomplished artist.

Chris has generously shared several pieces for our latest Mind Matters student art exhibition. He opens up about his creative process, how art helps him to manage his wellbeing and why it’s so important to shine a light on mental health.

Why did you submit your pieces to Mind Matters?
As a psych student (and, I guess, as a human) I feel it’s important to try to reduce the stigma of mental illness. By submitting to the exhibition, I was committing myself to being open about my own experiences, and hopefully reducing the stigma for others. 

How does the creative process help you to manage or nurture your wellbeing?
The images were a way for me to process my own thoughts, in the same way some people use journaling. Like many, I found it difficult to open up to people about how I was feeling, so visualising it sometimes prompted helpful conversations. Also, when I create something I’m proud of and other people like, I get a little self-esteem booster shot 🙂 .

What’s your creative process and what different techniques and tools do you use?
I’m usually trying to visualise a feeling – sometimes using an analogy, sometimes literally. I sketch up a bunch of rough ideas until I find the one that feels right, or sometimes I’ll hunt around Google image search for another image that inspires me. A majority of my initial work was using an iPad and Procreate.

Later, due to lockdowns, I had a lot of time to play around with 3D software (Cinema 4D mainly) and started creating 3D art and animations, and experimenting with 3D scanning and motion capture apps like in3D and Mixamo.

Who or what inspires you creatively?
There’s no particular artist – I tend to find a few different elements of multiple images I like and put my own spin on the whole thing. Whenever I come across an image I like, I throw it in a folder on my computer for later reference. Sometimes I’ll see a cool image in a poster or on Instagram and see if I can create something in a similar style.

Often, I’m literally experimenting, especially with the 3D stuff – a lot of that was just playing with the software and discovering something I liked. 

What are your career goals once you graduate? 
I haven’t thought that far ahead 😉 . I work in design and video post-production at the moment, and am not quite sure how I’m going to converge that and the psychology once I’m done. But that’s a 2023 problem.

Do you have any advice for other students on how to manage uni life?  
I did my full-time on-campus undergrad a long time ago. Coming back and doing it via cloud is a very different experience, so I don’t feel like I’m living a uni life this time. The main thing I learned between stints is to try not to get behind – life is unpredictable and ‘later’ may not be any less chaotic than ‘now’. 

See Chris’s work below and check out the full exhibition online, including works from previous Mind Matters:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Support is always available

We offer a range of health and wellbeing services to support you as a student. For urgent support outside of business hours, contact Lifeline (13 11 14) or SuicideLine (1300 651 251) straight away. They’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

back to top