A young person’s art exhibition, on display at a child and adolescent mental health centre provided by Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, is having a positive impact on young people’s emotional wellbeing across the district.
According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, viewing art can help reduce stress, combat loneliness and make life feel more meaningful.
The gallery exhibition, originally displayed at Victoria Hall in Shipley, before finding its permanent home at Hillbrook Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Keighley, was organised by Chris Tolson, Headteacher at The Academy at St James, with the help of local artist, Emma-Jo Bairstow.
Pupils ranging from ages six to 18 across Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust (BDAT) collaborated in groups and created artwork inspired by themes of diversity and inclusion. The initiative was designed to be an enriching experience for pupils and a boost to their mental health as they considered what these themes meant to them and their peers. The programme inspired a positive and uplifting buzz across the schools as pupils engaged in planning and designing their artwork and honing their creative skillsets.
Chris Tolson, Headteacher at The Academy at St James, said: “One of the original reasons for doing the exhibition was about diversity and inclusion and also art being a really good form of therapy for children. Lots of children worked in groups, classes or individually and that had a really good impact on their mental health and how they felt about themselves. That came out in the exhibition and some of the comments that showed off their many talents. As a result, we couldn’t think of a better setting to display the artwork, in a place where it would have a positive impact on people who are struggling with their own mental health in the wider Bradford area. The exhibition is also a lasting legacy for all of the schools in BDAT and also for children whose work will continue to be enjoyed for years to come.”
Clinicians at the Trust’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service, (CAMHS) welcomed the exhibition and credited the artwork with providing a boost to visitors at the centre. Feedback from young people has included that it was good to see art by other young people on display.
David Sims, Medical Director at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As a provider of specialist mental health services, we are delighted to host the exhibition which showcases innovative and thought-provoking artwork created by young people across the district. We’re always looking at new ways to tackle stigma surrounding mental health illness and the artwork is a wonderful way to do this and to promote the benefit of art in boosting good mental health. The quality of artwork has been so impressive. We hope that everyone enjoys the work on display.”
The Trust’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service is available to support young people in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven experiencing emotional and mental health issues. Referrals are accepted from a variety of health professionals, including GPs, hospital doctors, school nurses and health visitors. To find out more visit: www.bdct.nhs.uk/services/child-adolescent-mental-health-camhs/
For information on all mental health and wellbeing support services in Bradford and Craven and self-help resources and apps, visit www.healthyminds.services.