Finding healing through art

Finding healing through art

Mates4Mates 06 February 2020

At Mates4Mates, there are many pathways to recovery.

For some, it’s taking part in gym sessions or cycling activities, for others, the mindful practice of doing something creative makes all the difference.

At the Mates4Mates Family Recovery Centre in Brisbane, Mates are developing their artistic drawing skills. In Townsville, they are whipping up new recipes, and in Hobart, a group is learning the art of crocheting.

These are just three of the many social connection and wellbeing activities offered by Mates4Mates, aiming to provide creative outlets for veterans and families to improve their wellbeing.

While there are many activities on offer, these three classes are a little unique. They’re run by Mates for Mates.                

Mates4Mates South East Queensland Regional Manager Marc Diplock said the classes were designed to help Mates find new ways to recover and complement other services on offer.

“Our model of care is centred around providing a variety of services so that veterans and families can find a pathway to recovery that fits their unique needs,” he said.

“Creative classes, like drawing and crocheting, have proven to be popular and give veterans more opportunities to connect with others and improve their mental wellbeing while learning new skills.”

We’ve also had the opportunity to have Mates help lead a number of these programs and give back after they’ve had a positive experience at Mates4Mates.”

For more information about Mates4Mates social connection and wellbeing activities, phone 1300 4 MATES (62 837).



In Brisbane, Mark Ericksson is teaching others how to draw and find healing through art. Having taken part in art lessons at Mates4Mates after discharging from the Army, he was inspired to study a Bachelor of Fine Arts and now uses his skills to give back.

“After being medically discharged in 2010 I felt lost. I had only ever wanted to be a soldier and felt that I hadn’t just lost a job but a big part of my identity,” Mark said.

“I found that helping other veterans and their families gave me back a sense of purpose. For Mates that don’t yet know what their passion is, I definitely recommend trying as many different activities as you can. You never know which one will speak to you until you try.”



In Townsville, Raymond Thain, is using his passion for food to help out at the Centre’s new Community Kitchen program. After being a chef in the Army for 27 years, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of food and kitchen hygiene.

“Mates4Mates has been wonderful to my wife and I, so it’s good to give something back,” Raymond said.

“The camaraderie in programs like these is really great. Everyone, including partners, have all been through the same things and can relate to each other.”



In Hobart, Angela Beyer runs a weekly crochet class – an activity she’s found to be hugely beneficial for managing her own mental health after discharging from the Navy.

“Activities like this brings people together. It’s tremendous to have the opportunity to teach others a new skill,” Angela explained.

“I find crocheting a good mindful way to lax and teaching the class has helped me feel that I can make a difference.”

  • Health & wellbeing