BSMHFT ‘Arts in Mental Health’ initiative to drive Recovery and Wellbeing

bsmhft-logoWorld Mental Health Day, October 10th, will punctuate the launch of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust’s pioneering, Arts in Mental Health programme. The initiative is designed to introduce the benefits of the Arts to those in the region suffering mental health problems in order to aid recovery and wellbeing.

An Arts and Mental Health Symposium, held at Birmingham’s Repertory Theatre on Saturday, October 10th, will formally launch the programme. The event will include contributions from service users and service providers – including Health and Care Consultant, Hari Sewell, Professor of Psychiatry and renowned poet, Femi Oyebode and Suzy Wilson from theatre and performance company Clod Ensemble – who will each present their own perspective on the importance of the Arts in mental health and wellbeing. The symposium will also feature the inaugural performance of the BSMHFT Gospel Choir. The event, which is part of a month-long celebration of Black History Month, will highlight the impact of culture on mental healthcare.

BSMHFT has successfully provided access to the Arts through Arts All Over The Place which is organised by the Creatives Network for the Arts and Health and aims to bring together people with mental health problems, their families, friends, artists and health providers to encourage and increase service users’ participation in the Arts.

Commenting on the initiative, Sue Turner, Chief Executive Officer, BSMHFT, said: “The Trust is committed to incorporating the Arts into its recovery and wellbeing service and has appointed a Head of Performing and Creative Arts to facilitate this process. Our strategy sets out how, through the Arts, we will work towards enabling people with mental health problems to achieve recovery through a process of ‘changing one’s orientation and behaviour from a negative focus on a troubling event, condition or circumstance to the positive restoration, rebuilding, reclaiming or taking control of one’s life.”

The Arts initiative will enable people with mental health problems, through collaboration with artists and Arts practitioners, to develop and lead creative projects. The Trust aims to achieve this by creating opportunities for volunteering, work experience and career development within the Arts and cultural sector in the region.

“We aim to incorporate Arts as part of our core programming and use work created by people with mental health problems to enhance the Trusts’ premises and local community facilities. The programme will also provide opportunities for career professional development and networking for artists and Arts practitioners and increase staff knowledge of best practice,” added Jo Neale, Head of Performing and Creative Arts, BSMHFT.

A supporting BSMHFT Trust Arts microsite will also be launched to provide information on the Arts programme, partner organisations, projects and other resources available to programme participants.

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