Inspired by mental illness and the workplace, Canadian illustrator Harrison Wheeler, a former vice principal and mental health advocate aims to create transformative artwork based on his lived experiences with bipolar disorder and addictions (HAW!, n.d.). From overcoming 10+ years in recovery, Wheeler attributes his creative spirit as a driving force for self-actualization, which led him to surpass the mental, physical, and spiritual adversities present in his life. Also, as a patient advisor on the St. Joseph’s Mental Health Quality Council and trained peer support worker, Wheeler has become a powerful and charismatic voice for mental wellness.
When it comes to artistic expression, Wheeler states, “drawing is my Zen, it’s how I think, how I communicate” (The Mighty, 2016). Being a professional cartoonist, Wheeler creates various images for mental health advocacy in hopes of alleviating some of the workplace stigma surrounding mental illness. Through his works, Wheeler ignites actions of empathy, expression, and the importance of support into the daily regimens of students, employees, and workplace partners across Canada.
In addition to sharing his artwork across the masses, Wheeler speaks and leads workshops on how creativity can serve as a key to self-actualization; how mental health can be viewed as an asset for living our lives more creatively; and how communicating with compassion in the workplace is going to make for healthier, wealthier lives (The Mighty, 2016).
Simply stated, Wheeler is on a mission to help people embrace wellness at work through humour and creativity …
“I try to approach the subject [mental wellness] with comedy because there’s enough drama in the world” – Harrison Wheeler (The Mighty, 2016).
HAW! About. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.harrisonwheeler.ca/about-me-shift/
The Mighty. Cartoonist Tackles Mental Illness in the Workplace. (2016). Retrieved from https://themighty.com/2016/11/harrison-wheeler-creates-comics-inspired-by-mental-illness/
Photo Credit: https://themighty.com/2016/11/harrison-wheeler-creates-comics-inspired-by-mental-illness/