one of the chosen artworks for display at the exhibitionIn a bid to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health illness, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust is holding a major art exhibition – the 1in4 art exhibition, which has been named to reflect the high proportion of people who experience mental ill health. One in four of us are affected by mental health every year, and many of us have experienced low moods, anxiety and stress at some point in our lives.

Salts Mill, will be supporting the exhibition, which runs from 6 – 10 October, 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 6pm Saturday to Sunday, in the run up to World Mental Health Day, 10 October,  in gallery two at the mill in Saltaire.  The exhibition will showcase innovative and thought-provoking artwork created by people who have experience of mental health issues – and will promote the benefit of art in promoting good mental health.

Former school teacher Nicky has mental ill health.  Nicky credits the use of art in her recovery and is urging more people to explore the benefits of art and creativity for positive mental health.  Nicky’s art will be featured in the Care Trust’s 1in4 exhibition.

Commenting on the benefits of art in mental health recovery, Nicky said: “I was trapped in silence until Jannine Smith, Art Psychotherapist at the Trust gave me a pencil and a paper and said there was more than one way to speak.  This was the first step in my recovery. Once I realised that art was having a beneficial effect on my mental wellbeing I invested and embraced art as an everyday coping mechanism. Statistics show that art has a positive impact on people’s mental wellbeing.”

Frank, an artist, who has used the Care Trust’s mental health services will also feature work in the exhibition alongside young artist Jess.  Both have found that art has contributed to their own mental wellbeing.  Frank said: “I find it very relaxing to paint shapes, it frees my mind.  I think scribbling and painting patterns is a way of making sense of the world.”

Jess’ artwork submitted for the exhibition features a painting of a young woman with clenched fists, held in frustration to the sides of her head, with closed eyes, screaming –  the caption underneath reads ‘make it stop’. Jess elaborating further on what the artwork means to her, explained: “The struggle that a young person with a mental health issue may go through. It shows what the struggle can lead to if a young person does not receive help.”

Paul Hogg, Trust Secretary at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust and project lead for the exhibition said: “As the local provider of mental health services, we are always looking at new ways to tackle stigma. The numbers and quality of artwork has been so impressive but it is also the personal stories associated with how people use art as a wellbeing tool that will interest people.  We hope that everyone who visits Salts Mill will continue the conversation about mental health, long after World Mental Health Day itself.”

In a bid to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health illness, a film featuring people sharing their own personal stories of mental health will also be showcased during the exhibition.   70 year old David Spencer was a carer for his late wife Lynda, who suffered from depression for twenty eight years, David talks about his own experience of mental health as a carer and the impact on his family; 38 year old Nick Smith had his first suicidal thought at the age of nine. Nearly thirty years on, Nick now helps to support vulnerable people that have suffered emotionally or experienced a mental health crisis through his peer support group; 24 year old Kate Wilson suffered from chronic fatigue, which left her bedbound for three years at the age of 13, over a decade later Kate now helps young people overcome mental ill-health through her work with Barnardo’s; 50 year old Jannine Hodgson was confident and outgoing before losing her confidence following health issues; Jannine credits talking about how she felt to contributing to her recovery and now supports other people regain wellness in mental health.

Jannine, David, Nick and Kate would like to encourage more people to talk about mental health and seek support in a bid to raise awareness about issues that can affect us all. Hear what they have to say…

The final day of the exhibition will take place on World Mental Health Day. This year’s theme covers ‘psychological first aid’ which aims to increase awareness of basic mental health first aid so every member of the public can help people with mental health problems in the same way as in a physical ill-health.

As well as addressing the stigma associated with mental ill-health, World Mental Health Day and the 1in4 exhibition aims to spread understanding of the equal importance of mental and physical health.  The Care Trust has been leading on its work in this area and provides a range of award-winning high quality mental health, community and learning disability services that look after the ‘whole person’, caring for their physical and mental health needs, which include psychological therapies for people with mild to moderate mental health problems to crisis support 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the First Response service.

Need support?

If you need help or are worried about someone who may need support for the first time, please contact your local doctor (your GP) who will be able to help.

If you need urgent help or care, please contact our First Response Service on 01274 221181 that offers crisis support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Follow the conversation on Twitter about the 1in4 Art Exhibition at: #1in4art