Tag Archives: art therapy

Creativity and Social Support in Mental Health

Mental Spaghetti has been cited as a reference in Roberta McDonnell’s new book, ‘Creativity and Social Support in Mental Health‘.

Roberta says, “Hopefully my new book will add to the voices trying to promote positive mental health recovery and a better deal for service users. A short summary of the findings and recommendations in a free e-book will be available soon and I will be happy to forward to anyone interested. Here’s a link in the meantime to the blurb and contents.”

If you’d like to get a link for the e-book, leave a comment and I will forward your interest to Roberta.

Flight of Ideas at Bethlem Gallery

A Bethlem Gallery showcasing the innovative arts in health initiatives across Europe, 2 – 25 October 2013
10 October World Mental Health Day

“To celebrate world mental health day 2013 the Bethlem Gallery is staging an exhibition of postcards made by artists staying and working in hospitals across Europe. Flight of Ideas is an international collaboration between innovative arts practice, studio spaces and galleries based within psychiatric healthcare in Croatia, France, Italy and the UK. All four organisations are unique within their own countries. Flight of Ideas celebrates their shared ideals framing them within the context of each nation’s system of mental health care. These differing institutions all facilitate creative activity as part of the recovery process during a person’s time in hospital and support professional development of these artists beyond the hospital setting.

Montfavet_Avignon_France_3Bethlem Royal Hospital_Terence Wilde








(Work from a French contributor, left, and from Terence Wilde, right)

At the heart of the exhibition are the artists themselves. Their extraordinary talent will be presented within the size of a postcard but is broad and varied in the range of style, media and technique employed. Artists working within the hospital environments range from having formal arts training to the self-taught. Their work shows, better than any document, their identity as artists and their right to lay claim to that status.

Flight of Ideas is produced and hosted by the Bethlem Gallery, a well known contemporary gallery space in the grounds of the oldest psychiatric hospital in the world still functioning today. The gallery and museum’s regular exhibitions and events have made it a vital contributor to the UK’s debate on creativity, mental health and art history. It is an important access point for the general public, patients, hospital staff and media to meet and communicate regardless of whether they are within or without the world of mental health care.”

Opening Event: Wednesday 2nd October, 3 – 6pm
Exhibition continues: Thursday 3rd – 25th October
Opening times: Wednesday – Friday 11am – 6pm Gallery and Museum will be open Saturday 12th October 11am – 5pm
Address: The Bethlem Gallery, Bethlem Royal Hospital, Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BX
Nearest British Rail: Eden Park / East Croydon
Website: http://www.bethlemgallery.com | http://www.bethlemheritage.org.uk


Diagnosed with psychosis six years ago, Tempok has submitted some words and art:

“A group of masked scientists stand around a TV screen in a stark white room watching a small child while he sits on the floor playing quietly. What is he thinking? Does he know about the accident or that he’s in a coma? Does he even realise that he is creating the world around him – including his mum and dad and baby sister – in his head?

Was it ever just a game? As far back as I can remember I was always being watched. Then they wrapped cotton wool around my head and muffled the paranoia. By that time I had already learned how to escape the mental barrage: I simply shut down all of my thinking faculties – cutting my nose off to spite my face.

Now the system is slowly being rebooted…”

Ali Fisher

“I suffer from mental illness myself and am still in the services since 1996. I am now 36 years old and have used art to cope with my illness of schizoaffective disorder.

Here is some of my art done in oil, acrylic and charcoal. This painting is called ‘A soul of entrapment’, hence the fist grasping hold of that fine line of light between reality and unreality, the soul going upwards towards the lighter side, the more positive.

This next picture is done in charcoal. I call that one ‘Judgement’, as the life after death, as you can see the skeleton bowing in front of his judge, whether to accept him as a angel into the next life.

This final one I call ‘Hope’, after suffering from psychosis. It was a dream so I decided to paint that dream, and that is done in oil paint. As you can see the hand reaching for the light, guess you can say the light at the end of the tunnel, as I was trying to block out the voices.

Hope you enjoy.”

A call for mental health activists

WEGO Health are looking for contributors…

“My name is Susan and I head up the WEGO Health Activist Network – a place where bloggers, tweeters, and facebook leaders come together to share information, learn from one another, and find tools to further their advocacy within the online health community.

As you may know, May is National Mental Health Month and host to Children’s Mental Health Week and WEGO Health is interested in working with Health Activists in this community to help raise awareness and educate our other Health Activists. I’m reaching out to you today to see if you might be interested in getting involved by submitting a guest post or joining our Roundtable discussion to share your story and/or get other Health Activists involved. You can sign up for either or both below.”

Guest Posting: http://info.wegohealth.com/guest-posts
Roundtable discussion: http://info.wegohealth.com/roundtable

Theatre: Nineveh

I was just sent this press release for a physical theatre show which may be of interest to you guys…

Theatre Témoin presents
directed by Ailin Conant, written by Julia Pascal
at Riverside Studios from 16 April to 11 May (press night: Thursday 18 April at 7.30pm)

“Inspired by the testimonies of international soldiers, Nineveh is a fantastical and inventive physical show that considers what happens when a soldier leaves the war zone. The show was created by award-winning playwright Julia Pascal (Crossing Jerusalem, The Dybbuk) and Ailin Conant (Artistic Director of Theatre Témoin). This theatre experience is made as a result of Conant’s work with ex-fighters, peace activists, ageing veterans and child soldiers in Rwanda, Lebanon, Israel and Kashmir.

Once there was a boy. The war had taken his hands and arms. When he went home, his family didn’t recognise him. “You have no arms”, they said, “you are not our son”. They threw him into the river, where a giant fish swallowed him.

This stunning new play is based on the stories of ex-combatants and child soldiers that Ailin Conant encountered through The Return Project, in which she created theatre with people in four countries over a year. The result is a magical and timeless tale of four ex-soldiers adrift in a mysterious vessel. It explores the relationships between four different men and their attempts to escape their past and present.

Ailin Conant, Theatre Témoin: ‘Some experiences are too enormous to derive meaning from in any rational way. I could spend forever talking about the people and stories I’ve encountered and still fail to communicate the things that were most significant and affecting. For that reason, we create theatre.’

The production has been created with the support of War Child, Amnesty UK, Queen Mary, University of London, and Arts Council England. The Return Project ( http://www.returnproject.blogspot.co.uk ) was supported by Wellesley College and the Mary Elvira Stevens Travelling Fellowship.

Theatre Témoin: the act of witnessing does not exist as a verb in French.
One can only ‘be a witness’ passively: ‘être témoin’. The active verb, ‘témoigner’, means ‘to testify’.

Theatre Témoin is a physical theatre company that creates work that is daring, socially engaged, and fun. It collaborates with people, companies and communities internationally to make high quality theatre that provokes change because it is personal, not because it is didactic.

Theatre Témoin’s most recent show was The Fantasist – ‘an examination of the bipolar state which uses puppetry to seriously good effect’ (Lyn Gardner, The Guardian). The Fantasist received critical acclaim including numerous five star reviews during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012, and tours the UK and Ireland in 2013. Further work includes: Nobody’s Home (2010), on post-war trauma and the soldier’s journey home in a modern re-telling of The Odyssey. Jukai (2008), a collaboration with Taiko drummers, on the forest at the base of mount Fuji haunted by its reputation for being the biggest suicide spot in Japan, possibly the world; and Borderline (2008), looking at immigration law and the plight of the ‘sans papiers’ in a satire of French bureaucracy gone wrong.”

Jonathan Peirson

“I have suffered depression and anxiety disorders for 16 years which have worsened in the last 5 years leading to loss of my job and confidence. After attending a depression treatment centre 3 years ago I had the chance to do a couple of art therapy sessions which I enjoyed. Since then I have been interested in abstract art and have continued to paint finding it to be a good coping strategy. I find abstract helpful as I can paint without a plan or rules.”


Black Star




Polar Opposites