SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Artwork on display in Springfield Wednesday aimed to send an encouraging message to those struggling with mental illness.

The Center for Human Development’s “Art Show on State” displayed the creative works of participants in CHD’s Psychiatric Day treatment and adult community and clinic services programs. The center walls were decorated with participants’ paintings, several of which were on sale.

The idea came from the CHD’s art groups. Ed Cruz of the CHD told 22News that staff noticed there was a lot of talent among group participants. They decided that participants’ artistic abilities not only help them express themselves but also inspire others who may struggle with mental health.

“One main thing about overcoming mental health disorders is having that goal, is having something that they can thrive for that they can work for, something that they can look forward to.” Ed Cruz, Center for Human Development in Springfield

The art show provided that avenue for participants. Profits made from the sales of paintings will go directly back to them. In addition to the art display, the day’s events included arts and crafts activities, music, and snacks for sale.

The CHD hopes to make this an annual event that breaks the stigma of mental illness.