Art Therapy Group with Aftercare Art Therapist Sam Jemison and QLD Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic

The Queensland Mental Health Commission have released Shifting minds: Queensland Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Strategic Plan 2018-2023. The strategic plan has been developed following extensive consultation of a diverse range of Queenslanders from different backgrounds and experiences in 2017. People with lived experience represented around 38 per cent of the people who attended the various community consultation forums.

As part of the publishing of the strategic plan, the commission was seeking to incorporate a distinctive piece of artwork or design to be applied across all printed and digital materials related to the strategic plan. The commission chose to partner with Aftercare’s Art Therapy Group which is led by art therapist Sam Jemison.

Our Art Therapy Group came together and, encouraged to express through art, create a group work that represented how they saw their best possible life and the support/resources they felt they needed to get there. They chose the metaphor of a clock to illustrate this, with each participant contributing two hands to our group clock.

‘Time, like life, does not stop and for this reason each hour of one’s life is valuable. We can’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in our way. We need to take control, empower ourselves, and determine our own future’ Sam Jamison said.

Our participants are hopeful that the NDIS will provide them with support tailored to their individual needs, giving them the opportunity to create the life they want.

Each of our hands are unique, just like their creators. Our individuality is what makes whatever we do special – it’s time to let it shine!

Read below what each participants work represents, their thoughts and ideas


It’s wrong to believe the only success for those who are ill is cure. We need to put value in improvement. It’s time to focus on improving the quality of life for those who are ill.
Often we fight so hard just for survival, but can’t get beyond that to gain peace, happiness, a sense of achievement and belonging – the core of human desires. We desire to regain some power in our lives, to have choice over who we let in to stay safe and respected, and to be given the tools to thrive not just survive.


Calm & Empowerment
These are my hands, traced within the group hand template, representing my personal choices and dreams for my best possible life.My best possible life is having the stability ‘to put down roots’. The key shapes represent the kind souls who have offered support along my journey.


Oh I wonder about the happy life where joy abounds in glory.
I ache to the feeling of sharing as deep as purity.
Where the physical is nothing, the eternal all of something.
And nothing tastes as sweet as the rain.


For me, my art work symbolises that the only way to move to where I want my life to be is forward. I think time is important, there is no time limit for recovery, and there is no right or wrong time. The art I have created means there is hope, there is a future. It expresses the hope I have. I have goals and dreams that I am working towards and this is a beautiful thing.


My left hand represents that I have faith in my family and friends. The tree represents me growing in a happy and peaceful place from the help of everyone that is there for me when I need it. My right hand shows a compass that is a guide to lead me to the right direction in my life. It helps lead me to the right path without losing my path of faith.


My artwork has many symbols and ideas representing my best possible life and how I plan on getting there. The motion of the grass and the flying bird under the changing weather symbolizes progression and moving forward, as well as the colour and light I want in my life.
The budding flowers represent new growth and my desire to always be learning and bettering myself. The vine represents my support networks and the spiritual eye conveys the calmness and tranquillity of the night. Finally the rainbow serpent denotes creation, both of the world and of my better life.