EDINBURGH'S Stafford Centre is hosting a thought-provoking art installation as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. 

The impressive collection has been put together by long-time Stafford Centre Counsellor David Wilkinson, and is inspired by his life experiences. The overall focus of the art is 'Relating', which fits perfectly into MHAW's theme of 'Relationships'.

"The theme of relationships fitted perfectly with the work I do" said David when asked why he chose to exhibit his work during Mental Health Awareness Week. He added that it was also "a way of saying 'thank you' to the staff team at the centre" and that in his work as a counsellor he learns lots about other people, and this is his chance to say "this is me". 

When asked about what he percieves to be the benefits of artistic pursuits for people suffering with mental illness, David summed it up as "a language that allows us to express what we can't express in any other way".

Rather than specific influences, David's inspirations come from "all over the place". "It's responding to things, meeting people, watching someone perform. Looking around the room, some of this is trying to work out a loss, but not in a bad way. Or seeing a half-worked out something and thinking 'yeah, i'd do that differently and continue it".

A piece that grabs you immediately is entitled 'The Life of Me' - the centrepiece of the installation. This piece is partly inspired by a road traffic accident David was in, which he was incredibly lucky to survive, and his subsequent conversations with nurses and doctors who all remarked on how much life he had in him. The piece is bold, imaginative and thought-provoking, which is a good description of David's collection as a whole. 

There is still time to see the exhibition, situated on the top floor of the Stafford Centre in Broughton Street, Edinburgh. It's open until 4pm this Thursday, from 12pm to 8pm Friday (with the opportunity to meet and speak to David between 1pm - 2pm) and from 11am - 2pm on Saturday.