Photographer uses art to offer a piece of mind

Local News

Through the Piece of Mind Project, the Helen Farabee Centers asked their clients to describe what it is like to live with mental illness.

Local artists then took those words and made them into works of art.

One artist did not portray the story of someone else, but rather his own story.

Zack Shanks enjoys capturing life.

“I fell in love with landscapes and then through the years I grew into different projects and stuff like that, but I just enjoy photography in general now,” Photographer Zack Shanks said.

Regardless of all the colorful scenes he takes, life has at times not been so bright.

While his lens shows the beauty around us, it can’t show what he has lived with.

“Anybody could be happy. Just smiling at you all the time, it could be anyone who is just falling apart on the inside,” Shanks said.

Suck it up. It’s all in your head. You’re lazy.  These are words thrown out by those who do not understand or perhaps care.

“It’s just phrases you hear all the time, because people they know about depression but they don’t really understand depression and a lot of people think, oh you will just get over it the next day, but it is not one of those types of effects,” said Shanks.

“She’s looking in the mirror and all she sees staring back at her is her depression.”

Falling apart is a seven-part series, where Shanks helps folks get a clearer picture of how depression feels.

“It’s raising awareness that mental illness is an actual thing and it is here in Wichita Falls,” Kiersten Mastalsz said, from The Helen Farabee Centers.

One in five people struggles with a mental illness.

“What we’ve decided at Helen Farabee Centers is that we have to be the change. So, that is kind of the movement we’ve started. It starts with each individual person, acknowledging that there is a problem, and talking about it,” Mastalsz said.

Shanks says once you understand mental illness, then you can actually help someone.

“I want people to see that it is not just a small problem.  It is a legitimate mental illness that affects many people and you don’t really notice who it is affecting until it is too late,” Shanks said.

Shanks hopes his passion for photography will help open more eyes.

The project, for the first time, encouraged him to talk about his own struggle, and he hopes the images will do the same for others who right now are struggling with no way to express their emotions or keep it all together.

The falling apart series found a permanent home at the Helen Farabee Centers.

The remaining art will be auctioned off, and the proceeds will be split between the Farabee Centers and NAMI.

To identify the signs of mental illness you need to look out for in those you know and love, ask them how they are doing and listen for feedback.

If you need to talk to someone, you can use the following contacts.

If you can always text- 741-741.

Crisis Intervention Services are available 24 hours a day by calling, toll-free 1-800-621-8504

Behavioral Health & IDD Centralized Intake 1-800-669-4166

Outreach, Screening, Assessment, and Referral (OSAR) for Substance Abuse Treatment 1-800-588-8728 or 940-224-6200 Wichita Falls and surrounding counties

To get in touch with NAMI, just call 940-244-6264 or email Jessica at

For more work from Zack Shanks visit his website, by clicking here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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