What we've been up to this month:

One of our projects during June took place at Snowsfields Adolescent Unit at Maudsley Hospital in south London, where our professional designer worked with young people with mental ill-health. The young patients designed and made jewellery and accessories, developing new skills whilst expressing themselves creatively.
 
We spoke to Dr Richard Corrigall, a consultant adolescent psychiatrist at Snowsfields, about the importance of creativity in mental health care for young people:
 
“With any mental health care, the key elements are biological, psychological and social. They’re all extremely important, it’s not that there’s just one area you need to be focusing on. It’s very important to have the medical stuff and the diagnosis and prescribing, but that should fit into the broader objective of helping people to restore their lives in a rich way. It’s not just saying 'These symptoms have gone away' – they’ve restored their real lives.
 
“Imagine you’ve got a mental illness, you’ve been in hospital – you can be very self-destructive or self-critical. So we try to restore some kind of faith and self-esteem, and I think creative things can be really good at that. There’s also the importance of shared respect. If people feel that they’ve been understood, then you’ve got a better chance of sharing the ideas and the advice you may want to give.

"Sometimes we have to make strong recommendations about medications which some patients can be quite resistant to. But I think having that dialogue can be more positive if you’ve given a young person the opportunity to express their feelings in different ways. You’ve demonstrated that you have real respect for them as a complicated individual, rather than just being a doctor saying: “You’ve got to do this.
 
“One young patient here had anorexia. She was clearly very talented at art and liked doing it, but she was very critical of her drawing and wanted it to be perfect. That illustrated the perfectionism that can relate to anorexia. We talked about how perfectionism can affect people and her trying a different approach, so she tried an impulsive, slightly random style of making art.

"That wasn’t her typical style, but it related in a metaphorical way to some of her psychological issues. She began using her detailed skills creatively but not getting overwhelmed by it, just in a nice straightforward way, and she was really quite thrilled by it. Art inspires social functioning, how to get on with and relate to other people, problem solving.”

Also this month:

  • Primary school pupils in Westminster are working with our professional filmmaker to create a short film, to be shown at Paddington Central’s summer film festival!
  • We had a great time exploring dance and music with young patients in hospitals and hospices.
  • In July, young adults with disabilities we’ve been working with will be part of Rich Mix’s Takeover 2018! They’ll be showcasing a short film screening and live music performance inspired by their favourite TV and film. Find out more and get tickets here.