Photography project helps mental health patients express their creativity
- Credit: NSFT
Mental health patients receiving care from Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) are being given the chance to express their creativity by capturing images of nature as part of an innovative project to promote wellbeing through art.
The initiative sees service users explore woodland on the Hellesdon Hospital site in Norwich, taking photos of the flora, fauna and trees under the guidance of Stephanie Hartick from Art Branches.
Their images will be used to inspire a large woodland-themed mural on a blank wall in the lounge on the Glaven Ward, in turn improving the indoor environment for patients, carers and staff.
The project is taking place in partnership with Art Branches and has been funded by the Woodland Trust as part of its Tree Charter, which celebrates the value and importance of trees and woods.
It aims to give patients – some of whom can spend several months on the ward receiving treatment for a variety of acute mental health conditions – the chance to pursue their interests or try out a new activity away from a clinical setting.
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Sophie Watson, assistant practitioner on Glaven Ward, said: 'This is a fantastic project which is giving our service users the chance to enjoy some fresh air, get out into nature and take part in a meaningful activity away from the ward.
'Some of those taking part are keen photographers, whereas others have never used a camera before.
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'Stephanie has been giving them guidance on lighting and composing their photographs, and they have all done really well and thoroughly enjoyed it.
'It has been really lovely to see the service users come out of their shell as they happily snap away with their cameras.'
Stephanie Hartick, creative director at Art Branches, said: 'The project gives patients the chance to get some physical exercise in a social setting while also taking part in a creative and rewarding activity.
'It is very rewarding to see the change in patients and their excitement when they see the photos they have taken.
'The positive feedback we receive makes it very worthwhile.'
It is hoped the mural will be complete by early 2019.