Mental health service users in Preston look to the future through art

Posted on - 21st June, 2020 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Health, People, Preston News
Guild Lodge service users have been participating in a unique art project.

Budding artists from Guild Lodge, part of the Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust adult mental health facilities, in Preston, put brushes to paper as part of a piece of work entitled Bird Flight.

The project focused on the idea of coming out of the global pandemic using the theme of birds.

Read more: Preston men encouraged to prioritise mental health this Men’s Health Week

Service users and staff from all 15 wards at the secure mental health unit were involved as a way to bring people together and create a positive piece of work during such a difficult time.

Guild Lodge Team
The Guild Lodge Team.

They were asked to work as a team to come up with their own ways of expressing the theme of looking to the future as the world emerges from the crisis.

The service users, who are aged 18-65, then had the choice of where and how to display their finished artwork.

Art is one of the activities used in therapy sessions run by staff, but occupational therapy areas have been temporarily closed during the lockdown, with people remaining on the wards.

Read more: Preston photographers take their picture exhibition into a virtual gallery

Mark Love, who conceptualised the project, said: “We’ve had some amazing ideas expressed through art.

“Because everybody has been restricted in where they can go, we wanted to come up with something positive they could work on as groups and look to life after lockdown.”

While movements have been contained to wards, Mark has also been sketching the people at Guild Lodge as a way of recording a piece of history for the facility.

Artwork created by service users at Guild Lodge.
Artwork created by service users at Guild Lodge.

He said: “I wanted to capture what it’s like for us to have to wear masks and take the precautions we’ve had to, because it does impact on service users, many of which have brain injuries and struggle when they can’t see full faces.

“Art has such a positive impact on people as a way of communicating. It can bring people of all abilities together and raise self-esteem when they see what they’ve produced.

“I find a lot of people don’t have very positive experiences with art, because of lessons they had at school, but quite often they discover talents they didn’t know they had.”

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Have you been expressing yourself creatively during lockdown? Tell us more in the comments below.

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