Start in Salford is an arts centre providing workshops and support for people with mental health difficulties and people facing social exclusion.
I have been working with the Visual Arts - Arts on Prescription groups that run on a Tuesday. Arts on Prescription is a group for adults who have been referred by their GPs to help with milder mental health problems. It helps provide relief in giving the members a sense of achievement in completing a project and pride in learning a new skill whilst also providing opportunities to make new friends and gain support from others facing similar issues in their lives.
I'm interested in working with mental health for a number of reasons. I have experienced mental health myself so feel I can relate to the members using the centre. I also understand how isolating it can feel. I am also interested in other ways to alleviate and improve mental health issues, particularly holistic approaches. I am also interested in wellness through mindfulness. I also believe in the importance of self care, community and creativity.
Most of the members have been quietly getting on with longer term projects as opposed to have a different task set each session. The members are also free to pursue any kind of visual art they want, so the members are doing everything from glass painting, mosaic, sculpture, painting and drawing.
Whilst many of the members are very neat and restrained in their work, many are very bold and experimental, such as one woman I worked with who is incredibly confident in her work and uses many different colours and textures.
There is one member I have worked with individually over several sessions as he seemed to be more wanting of assistance than the other members and we got on fairly well. He at first seemed incredibly nervous and unsure of what he was doing but seemed to feel more confident after talking about his work and seeking help with it. He has now almost completed his piece and is visibly much more confident.