Artists and musicians are helping young patients at the Maudsley explore their creative sides

Katherine Johnston (03 August, 2018) Culture

Charity says art can help patients relax and improve their self-esteem

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Teenage patients at the Maudsley’s adolescent unit are learning new artistic skills to help their recovery and reduce the stigma around mental ill-health.

The creative:tandem project, run by art charity Create, began in April and will run until the end of October, with a range of artists and musicians lending their time and skills.

Patients aged twelve to eighteen are exploring music, learning how to make costumes and accessories, before working on photo collage and jewellery making.

The project aims to help patients socialise with fellow patients and staff, build their self-esteem, and also help reduce anxiety and stress as they continue their treatment, as well as raising awareness of mental health.

Consultant adolescent psychiatrist at Snowsfields, Dr Richard Corrigall, said: “Creativity can be really good at restoring self-esteem.

“It inspires social functioning, how to get on with and relate to other people and problem solving.

“Having a dialogue with a patient can also be more positive if you’ve given that young person the opportunity to express their feelings in different ways.”

Create’s co-founder and chief executive, Nicky Goulder, said: “Creative and social activities have been shown to decrease levels of stress and anxiety and can help boost young patients’ wellbeing.

“Young people with mental ill-health can be extremely vulnerable and I am delighted that, through our partnership with Prudential plc, Create has been able to develop this important new project with Snowsfield Adolescent Unit.

“It is inspiring and rewarding to see the impact of the project on the young people’s wellbeing, social skills and confidence.”

Create describes itself as the UK’s leading charity ’empowering lives through the creative arts.’

The charity focuses on working with marginalised people in areas where access to the arts is low.

The Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust cares for 3,900 inpatients each year and treats more than 67,000 patients across Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Croydon each year.

creative:tandem ran from 3-6 April and 29 May-1 June and will continue from 23-27 July, 13-17 August and 22-25 October

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