Creativity and Wellbeing Week 2022

Bluebell pathway in the woods

This week we have been listening and sharing at online events with other organisations and groups who are using creativity and the arts to increase health and wellbeing throughout Wales and the UK.

Delivered by London Arts and Health in partnership with the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance, the 2022 Creativity and Wellbeing festival is focusing on the theme ‘Get Creative, Get Outdoors’.

Here are some lovely images taken or created by people on our projects who went outdoors and got creative.

Mental Health Awareness Week  2022

This week, for Mental Health Awareness Week, we have been taking some of our Ty Canna project participants outside to be inspired by nature in the Cardiff area. Our group members enjoyed getting outside in the fresh air and coming together to be social and creative in a green space, a community allotment plot in the city.

The Mental Health Foundation started Mental Health Awareness Week 21 years ago and it has grown to become one of the biggest awareness weeks across the UK and globally. The theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year is the impact of loneliness on our mental health and the practical steps we can take to address it:

‘One in four adults feel lonely some or all of the time. There’s no single cause and there’s no one solution. After all, we’re all different! But, the longer we feel lonely, the more we are at risk of mental health problems. Some people are also at higher risk of feeling lonely than others.’

(Mental Health Foundation, 2022

We took photographs, talked about nature and how it made us feel, and wrote poetry inspired by the day:

A Diamond in the Ruff

A place where people can grow, greenery can flourish and vice versa!

A chance to go back to your roots and bear the fruits of your labour.

Among friends and fellow budding naturalists, you can explore micro

and macro worlds that we seldom see in today’s busy concrete world.

A stone’s throw away from the urban humdrum is the allotments –

Makeshift doors, ponds full of life and ecological diversity

everywhere you look.

Bees, flowers, elephant garlic and tweeting birds are all encompassed

in this hidden gem.

Capture a moment of peace, whether reading a book, planting a seed or

sketching some art, there’s always something to do at the allotments.

by Jacob

Earth Day 2022

Tree

On Earth Day, April 22, Breathe Creative has been facilitating arts workshops for young people and adults in partnership with Ty Canna Outreach Services in Cardiff.

The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest In our Planet” calling for businesses to shift towards sustainable practice. The United Nations also celebrates this day as International Mother Earth Day and has marked the day with the theme “Harmony with Nature”.

We have been sharing our thoughts and ideas and creating artwork about about nature, the environment and ways to care for it. We have been talking about pollution and global warming. Some of our group members feel really connected to nature and felt this was a good way to feel grounded for their mental health. Others felt concerned about the issues but not sure what they could do to help.

One idea we had was creating an outdoor space where we could come together to be more connected to nature, a safe space for feeling calm, to grow things to eat, being more healthy and in the fresh air, and being creative together.

Our groups shared some thoughts:

“Benefits of being outside – it’s good for mental health.”

“Gardening in any form is a joy, to see plants and flowers grow and develop.”

“Harvesting produce gives a great sense of achievement (doesn’t always work, but that also joy of gardening, seeing how nature chooses to work!)”

“Using produce in a group – growing and eating it – soup of any kind using vegetables, carrot cake, choc beetroot brownies…”

“It nurtures the soul, it’s nice to work in groups and have some social interaction. Also as it’s outside, it makes it safe and can be done in a socially distant way whilst still working together.”

Swimming with the T1DE

T1DE

There are  higher rates of eating disorders among people with type 1 Diabetes, as compared to their peers without Diabetes. Disordered eating behaviours put people with type 1 Diabetes at serious risk. 

This project brought together people living with type 1 Diabetes and Health Care professionals from across Wales to create a film to raise awareness of the risks, issues and links between eating disorders and type 1 Diabetes. The lived experiences, shared ideas and stories from group members formed the basis for this short animation:

“It has been great to be with others who have type 1 Diabetes who know what it is like and the impact it has on your life, being with them make me feel more normal.” 

“I enjoyed the chance to get my voice heard as a diabetic and being able to connect with others has been really cathartic and validating.”

“I feel less alone now.”

“It has been very therapeutic, I enjoyed the relaxation techniques, I’m still using them now.” 

“It’s been a privilege to be accepted in this group, everyone was so open and honest and it was good to be creative together, thank you for this opportunity.”

This film was made in partnership with All Wales Diabetes Implementation Group (AWDIG), NHS Wales Health Collaborative, Cardiff and Vale UHB Psychology department, and funded by Public Health Wales NHS Trust. The project was facilitated by Katja Stiller (Therapeutic Arts Facilitator) and Jane Hubbard  (Animation Producer) from Breathe Creative.

Welsh Version of our animation:

Swimming with the T1DE Soundcloud Pieces:

Through the Sands of Time

Sand falling through an hourglass

This new soundscape and spoken word piece made by creative young people as part of our ‘Unlocking’ National Lottery Funded project, working with Ty Canna Mental Health Outreach Service in Cardiff.

Our group explored their emotions, hopes and fears though creative writing, music and sound, working with sound composer Tic Ashfield.

UnLocking

Out of the Comfort Zone by Bonnford

UnLocking is a National Lottery funded project by Breathe Creative working in partnership with Ty Canna Mental Health Outreach Service in Cardiff. 

Participants met weekly in online sessions facilitated by Katja Stiller over a period of six months from July 2021 to January 2022. Using different art forms we explored and expressed our emotions during these strange times of COVID-19; we looked at how it feels to come out of Lockdown, out of our comfort zone, and how we could unlock ourselves and our creative potential. 

One group worked with animator Jane Hubbard and composer Jacob Meadowcroft to create the animation ‘Beyond the Lines’. Much of the artwork behind the animation is captured in a booklet and also in the exhibition ‘UnLocked’ which was launched online on January 7th 2022. The young people’s group worked with composer Tic Ashfield to record their creative writing and produce a soundscape and spoken word piece called ‘Through the Sands of Time’.

Artwork and words created by: Rhiannon, Sarah, Jacob, Bonnford, Jennifer, Debbie, Loraine, Jemima, Nick, Magdalena, Rain, Helen, Amy, Lianne, Aaron, Judith, Jet, Leandro, Shardine, Val. 

Supported by: Imogen Fallon, Millie Tucker, Callum Langley, Vishal Gaikwad, Ty Canna Outreach Service.

Gallery

UnLocking Book

Lottery Community Fund

World Mental Health Day – ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’

World Mental Health Day

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year. 

The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘mental health in an unequal world’. Research has shown that, since the beginning of the pandemic, some of the people struggling the most are those who were already facing considerable challenges in their lives.

World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for us to think about, talk about and share our experiences of mental health. 

In our projects we encourage participants to reflect on the things they can do for their own wellbeing as well as sharing the things they have been struggling with, offering creativity and relaxation techniques in a safe environment, and supporting participants to become active agents in their own recovery and wellbeing. We work in a  person-centred way, allowing individuals to go at their own pace. We offer different arts activities to help participants process their emotions and learning, to express themselves, to have fun and to gain a sense of achievement. We work in a collaborative way with the aim of increasing participants’ self awareness, self confidence, social and communication skills.

Some of our Creativity for Wellbeing groups have been exploring and expressing their thoughts on the mental health and inequality theme this week and they wanted to share their thoughts with you in their own words and pictures:

Mental Health in an Unequal World

When you are in hospital with a broken leg or pneumonia you get visited 

by family and friends, you get lots of get well soon cards, maybe even flowers.

When you are on a mental health ward, you may not even get a phone call for days, 

visits are even rarer, and you never get cards.

You are made to feel that being ill is your fault when it is not.

Family and friends may feel ashamed or afraid to help, 

afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing.

Different diagnoses bring different amounts of help and different stigma and stereotypes. 

If you have money you can pay for your own counselling or psychiatrist, 

if you do not you have long waiting lists, you have to fight for help and it may take years.

The benefits system keeps people in fear with endless assessments 

and the threat of benefits taken away as soon as any improvement is made 

instead of supporting people to work in a limited capacity.  

I long to be able to return to work, 

I long for freedom from fear and worry, 

but in an unequal system it often seems impossible.

Sarah

Mental Health In An Unequal World

Having a mental health illness in an unequal world means we face many challenges, so many barriers to overcome. Some of us are already facing inequalities because of our race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity. This along with the stigma of having a mental health illness means we fight to be heard, to be seen, to be accepted, to receive help and be treated. 

I dream of a world where everyone is treated equally, where discrimination doesn’t exist and individuals don’t have to fight for equality. A place where race and ethnicity is celebrated, sexual orientation accepted and gender not judged. 

I dream of a world where all countries come together like a helping hand. A hand that provides the help so many desperately need. One that enables people to get the support and acceptance, without judgement. One that provides a platform to enable individuals to achieve their hopes and dreams. 

A world where is support is provided for all those with mental health illnesses, as well as their families and carers. Where stigma and discrimination has diminished. A world where human rights are respected and each person is seen as being unique and special. A place where mental health does not affect educational opportunities or job prospects. Where governments across the world provide the funds needed to pay for the mental health treatments so many need, closing the gap between those who are wealthy and those living in poverty.

These shouldn’t be dreams they should be reality. Making a change today, is a small step towards having an impact. An impact on reducing inequalities and improving mental health services to provide treatment and support for all. 

No one should be left behind. 

Rhiannon

These projects have been made possible with thanks to our invaluable funding and support from Ty Canna Mental Health Outreach Services, Cardiff Council, Mental Health Matters, The Baring Foundation, The Moondance Foundation, Mental Health COVID Response Fund, BAVO, InterLink RCT, Llynfi Afan Renewable Energy Park Community Benefit Fund, and The National Lottery Community Fund.

New Creative Listening Course

Painting of two people beneath the sea, listening
Creative Listening

 Mondays 11am – 1 pm for 15 weeks on Zoom from 27th September 

We have just started a new Creative Listening course which teaches listening skills using arts, creative activities and mindfulness. Improving our listening skills increases self confidence, improves our relationships with others and can also reduce anxiety and negative inner dialogues.

This course is being delivered by our facilitators Rhys Hughes and Katja Stiller (who also devised this Breathe Creative training programme), working with support from Millie and the Ty Canna Mental Health Outreach services team in Cardiff. Participants learn at their own pace and will receive a certificate on completion of the course. 

This project has been made possible thanks to funding from The Moondance Foundation.

Feedback from previous course participants includes:

It is a privilege listening to others and to be listened to

I have changed, I have become a lot more resilient

I feel safe and supported in this group

I enjoyed the session and having deep and meaningful conversations 

I am becoming more aware of others and of myself 

Uplifting, I really enjoyed the art and making friends.

Breathe Creative and Ty Canna with Funding from the Moondance Foundation 

Inside Out Project

Art in the Park

Our ‘Inside Out’ creative wellbeing group in Blaengarw made the most of a nice day by taking their art kits down to the lake to paint and write about what they saw and how they felt being in nature:

“ We take it for granted sometimes living here don’t we…”

“When you sit down and look at it all, and take it in, it makes you feel relaxed…”

“ I haven’t painted since I was about 10! I’m really enjoying it .”

This group meet every Friday at Blaengarw Workmen’s Hall – 11am to 12.30pm and the project combines creativity with mindfulness, nature and social connection.

Supported by the Llynfi Afan Renewable Energy Park Community Benefit Fund and The Baring Foundation.

© 2022 Black Cat Design