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Creativity Works’ Mental Health Creative Support Service

Our Project Manager Philippa recently wrote a wonderful report on The Mental Health Creative Support Service during April 2012 – March 2013, which Creativity Works delivers for BANES. Here is a summary of the wonderful work that this report highlights:

The Mental Health Creative Support Service [MHCSS] provides a person-centred process of engagement and progression, which supports people with mental health needs in B&NES to take up opportunities in the community and support their transition from using mental health services, to community based activities.

Throughout the year, the Mental Health Creative Support Service:

  • Delivered 10 creative projects across B&NES to over 100 people and 7 events
  • Reached an audience of over 570 people
  • Supported of 6 creative peer-support groups, (5 of which developed this year) which has involved 43 people in volunteer roles and promoted greater connections with community and culture

Participants on the creative courses said they were:

Very satisfied with the service

…and that it had helped them make connections with community and culture and develop social networks.

Working with 13 experienced artist facilitators in a wide variety of art forms from creative writing, to visual arts and dance has enabled people to express themselves in different ways and feedback shows that taking part has:

  • Increased participants confidence, self esteem and promoted positive identity
  • Increased learning of new skills in creative thinking and creative arts which has inspired wider aspirations and motivation

…as a result outcomes have included people taking up:

  • new leisure interests,
  • volunteering opportunities,
  • returning to work
  • and starting up businesses.

With opportunities to share and profile work through celebrations, exhibitions and events at community and cultural events, a sense of pride has been developed amongst participants and has helped reduce stigma around mental health issues promoting personal and encouraging stories in a positive light. These events have given the wider public opportunities to share their feelings about mental health and offered them a sense of support and inspiration.

The effectiveness of creative mental health support is shown through the 6 creative peer-support groups that have continued to develop, with benefits to individuals which include:

  • Supporting each other’s creative aspirations and plans for the future
  • Teamwork
  • and shared decisions

…enabling support through difficult times and helping to move ideas on. These groups help address social isolation and bring a new sense of purpose, which boosts motivation and aspirations. Participant volunteers in new creative groups have taken on roles such as fundraising, planning and booking venues to enable their networks to establish and keep connected.

There are greater connections with statutory, community and cultural organisations as a result of the creative groups and they are greatly valued by those that attend and other community organisations.

The ‘voices’ of people with lived experience of mental health are enabling and influencing the design of new groups and services, so helping to meet the requirements of local people with mental health issues.

…All in all, a brilliant project!


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