Arts and Minds would like to see access to creative arts and culture available to as many people who experience mental ill health and their carers as possible. Our experience shows there is a large unmet need for arts based interventions within mental health and social care making it a viable area of development for a third sector organisation.
We also believe arts and culture have a central role to play within the mental health trust’s expressed commitment to the ‘Recovery Model’ of care across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and warrants serious consideration by Clinical Commissioning Groups and GP Practices at local level.
To establish our place in the mental health and social care provision we have developed four strands of work:
Community & Development
We aim to develop new and effective ways to reach people who may find an experience of the arts as beneficial to their recovery.
Arts and Minds workshops for schools
We are currently offering Arts and Minds workshops for schools for students in Years 9 and 10, led by professional artists and supported by a qualified psychotherapist where participants can try a variety of creative activities, including drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture. Our vision is to define and demonstrate a role for the arts in maintaining positive mental health.
In Cambridgeshire, mental health service provision for young people involves lengthy wait times and the thresholds necessary to trigger statutory care continue to rise. Arts and Minds wanted to see what could be done as an ‘early help’ provision for young people within schools and developed the pilot of Arts on Prescription for young people, thanks to funding from the Arts Council’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival Bridge organisation. The result was an initial pilot at Ernulf Academy in St Neots, which produced evidence showing significant positive impact on wellbeing and mental health, along with improvements to behaviour and attendance.
The second pilot, working with students at Cambourne Village College, employing AccessArt’s co-founder Sheila Ceccarelli, is a new delivery partnership, and one that we hope will bring the work to the attention of a larger community of interest, build on the findings from the first pilot and allow Arts and Minds to develop larger scale delivery within Cambridgeshire secondary schools.
We have also maintained a weekly community singing group thanks to a very successful partnership with the Michaelhouse Centre in Cambridge.
Ward and Building
At Arts and Minds we have a proven track record of delivering arts projects to a wide range of people who access mental health services and staff in buildings and wards across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.These projects include physical enhancements of the care environment, participatory opportunities for staff and patients as well as public gallery exhibitions.
In recent years the funding from this work was cut, but discussions are underway again locally and with national partners regionally to start delivery within wards once again.
Research & Evidence
In financially pressured times it is ever more important that the arts and cultural sectors produce evaluation and where possible research that speaks to funders and partners from the statutory sectors. At Arts and Minds we are determined that the arts and culture can be an effective (including cost effective) tool to address mental health and social care issues. We have recently featured within MIND_public-mental-health-guide_web-version and also Social_Prescribing_Review_2015 by University College London.You can find more research from ourselves and others on the Research Page.
Anti-stigma and Training
Although not principally a campaigning charity we are constantly aware of unmet need and continuing discrimination and stigma attached to those of us who experience periods of mental ill health. We see training those professionals involved in decision making around the role of the arts within mental health and social care as a vital part of the changing landscape of health services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
There is obvious cross over between these areas, but we see this intertwining giving added strength that enables rich experience to inform further programme planning.