Collection of art

How virtual art is supporting mental health in Manchester

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new virtual exhibition that is aiming to help people struggling with their mental health build a better future via the medium of art.

The art exhibition is called The Enchantment of the Everyday and showcases the works of people who suffered from mental health difficulties during the pandemic, ultimately giving them a platform and opportunity to enhance their confidence, skills, and recovery.

The trust say the exhibition “explores the theme of finding beauty, magic, and something new in our everyday lives” and was the brainchild of Simon Jones, who is a Wellbeing Arts Tutor at GMMH’s Recovery Pathways service.

He said: “March 2020 was the start of a very strange, uncertain, and difficult time for many. Our worlds became much smaller, and Recovery Pathways had to close its doors. Life as we knew it looked completely different and we didn’t know if it would look the same again.

“We found alternative ways to connect with people through: setting up online groups; delivering creative packs to doorsteps; and regular phone calls and text messages. And we sought new outlets for inspiration and expression.

“The aim of Enchantment of the Everyday was to improve mental wellbeing – particularly at this difficult time – by helping people to see their surroundings differently, to find beauty and enchantment in the everyday. It also helped people to learn new skills, and to connect with others at this increased time of isolation for many.

“The result has been a varied and powerful series of artworks which is as strange as the time and experience of living through the pandemic itself. You will experience such things as the inner thoughts of a cauliflower pot, to the undulating spiral of a snail’s shell.”

A service user who requested to remain anonymous said the wellbeing sessions provided by the trusts were a “lifeline” for them during the pandemic.

He said: “Connecting with everyone once a week and taking part in the activities has literally been my only connection with the world outside.”

Another anonymous service user added: “I have really looked forward to the art sessions every week. Even though we were all linking virtually, it’s been so therapeutic to have the opportunity to feel part of a creative group.”

To learn more about the art exhibition, click here.

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