A virtual art gallery has been launched by Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The gallery, which features art from patients at the Trust’s inpatient units at Lynfield Mount Hospital and Airedale Centre for Mental Health and staff, has been created to help promote the benefit of art in fostering good mental health.

Innovative and thought-provoking artwork, created by people who have experience of mental health issues and members of staff, has been framed and put up in a new gallery space to create the ‘Grow’ exhibition at the Four Seasons Café at Lynfield Mount Hospital. The café is only open to staff, patients and their families and carers so by making the gallery virtual it allows the wider public to get involved.

Commenting on the benefits of art in mental health recovery, a staff member who supported patients on the wards to get involved said: “It was wonderful to see patients engage in an amazing project, learning new skills and enjoying the outdoors during the photo walks. It showed them that they can achieve something they didn’t think they could and inspired more engagement in activities.”

The gallery was the idea of the Therapeutic Volunteer Coordinator, Rachel Jones, and Lorna Dunsire, Lead Occupational Therapist in Acute mental health services, who wanted to create a project which volunteers could offer to support patients.

Rachel said: “The project has been a huge team effort including our Exhibition Curator Volunteers, the Occupational Therapy team, staff from the wards and Estates.

The numbers and quality of artwork has been so impressive, we currently have around 30 pieces of artwork on display. We hope that this helps to open up the conversation about mental health and the therapeutic benefits of art.”

The creation of the gallery at the café was funded by the Trust’s Better Lives Charity. Better Lives aims to enhance the care provided by BDCFT through charitable activity by improving the physical and mental wellbeing of our staff, patients, service users and their families.

The virtual gallery is available for everyone to enjoy on the Trust website.

For more information on how you can support the Better Lives Charity please visit Welcome to Better Lives Charity – BDCT.