Nature was inspiration behind new ward mural

Modern matron Heidi McKay and the mural on Glaven Ward. Photo: NSFT

Modern matron Heidi McKay and the mural on Glaven Ward. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Mental health patients have helped to improve the environment in which they receive care by creating a colourful mural as part of an innovative project designed to promote wellbeing through art.

Modern matron Heidi McKay and the mural on Glaven Ward. Photo: NSFT

Modern matron Heidi McKay and the mural on Glaven Ward. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Patients using Glaven Ward at Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich have designed and painted a large countryside scene on a blank wall in the communal lounge. The image is made up of one large young tree, onto which service users can add leaves and messages of hope, against a backdrop of ancient hedgerow, woodland and wildflower meadow which is inspired by the Norfolk landscape.

The mural has been created as part of a photography project, which saw service users given the chance to explore woodland at the hospital site and capture images of nature under the guidance of Stephanie Hartick from Art Branches Community Interest Company.

Some of their images were used to inspire the mural, while others have been blown up and displayed around the ward to brighten the environment for patients, carers and staff.

Suzi Peet, an occupational therapist on the ward, said: 'We are delighted with the mural – it covers the entire wall and looks really striking. The design is the mirror image of the scene you see when you look out of the lounge window over the fields, so looks especially effective.

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'We've left most of the branches on the main tree bare so that service users can add leaves and their own messages of hope over time, so that it continuously grows and gives even more people the chance to get involved and express their creativity.

'The project has been received really well by our service users, with lots of them keen to get involved with taking photos or helping with the mural. It's also been a really great conversation starter and a nice group activity which has given them the chance to get creative outside the ward environment.'

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Stephanie, creative director of Art Branches, said: 'The project has been really successful, and has helped to engage service users and spark their interest. Everyone has enjoyed taking part, and it was nice to see them concentrating on creating the landscape and working together to do so.

'The mural will change over time as more and more leaves are added to the tree, so will continue to be engaging and interactive for people using the ward long into the future.'

The project was funded by the Woodland Trust as part of its Tree Charter, and gave service users – some of whom can spend several months on the ward receiving treatment – the chance to pursue their interests or try out a new activity away from a clinical setting.

It is hoped that similar projects will take place on some of the other wards at Hellesdon Hospital in the future.

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