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Breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness 

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A year ago, 57-year-old Jody Whitman took a half-finished painting out of storage, where it had sat for years, and began the process of completing it. Whitman had just enrolled in local mental health provider AspenPointe's art therapy class as a way to ease the pain of her mother's death, a trauma that left her with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

Since finishing that first painting of a mother and daughter in Amsterdam, Whitman has painted everything from landscapes to pandas to the cardinal that graces our cover this week. Whitman says painting has been the most important part of her treatment.

"It gets my mind off of negative thoughts and refocuses them on the positive, more beautiful aspects of life," she says.

AspenPointe's art classes, taught by Kim Nguyen, are open to its patients. Calendars featuring artwork made in the class, including Whitman's cardinal, can be purchased for $5 at aspenpointe.org/artcalendar.

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