A new exhibit in Sudbury features the work of six people who are using artistic expression to cope with their mental health challenges. 

The display is called The Story of Us: A Narrative Painting Collective and is the result of a three-month workshop run by the Northern Initiative for Social Action (NISA), a mental health support group in the city.

Kim Mullin, the workshop's facilitator, said creating art allows people to express themselves in ways they sometimes can't with words. 

"Very often people need to tell their stories. But they can't really. They don't have permission from their families. They don't have permission from the people in their environment to tell the stories as they felt them, as they experienced them," Mullin said.

"With images, colour, and line, people can tell these stories in a covert way that gives them some form of relief, some form of comfort in telling the story. But in not necessarily having the story out there in black and white," she said. ​

Kaarina Ranta is a program co-ordinator with NISA and one of the artists featured in the program. She told CBC News that expression through art was a therapeutic experience for her.

"I found it really inspiring for my personal life. I created a studio in my home. And I kept creating, and all of this art started pouring out of me," Ranta said.

The show is free to attend and runs all month at Artists on Elgin in the city's downtown core.

There's a reception taking place Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

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