The Creative Mind
A Review of Start in Manchester - www.startmc.org.uk
By Beth Yoon
Start in Manchester is an arts program designed to promote mental health for adults. Through creativity they focus on building confidence, self worth and skills that can lead to employment. Some of the mediums they work with are photography, horticulture, painting and ceramics. The students learn the artistic process as well as a range of work related skills like time management while building an extensive portfolio of work to showcase.
Much of the work that the students produce is related to mental health awareness and often breaks through the many stigmas that are so heavily attached to it. It allows people viewing the art work to have a connection with someone who is dealing with mental illness.
As an artist myself, I think that this program and the connection between art and mental health is profound. Sometimes it is through my own art work that I can see my truest self. I find that often a drawing or painting that I make contains much of what I am going through at that time. It can be like a mirror for me that is very clear and helpful in determining what I am feeling and a wonderful tool for working things out.
Start focuses much of their program on prevention and protection of our mental health. "We are all vulnerable to emotional and mental distress. At least 1 in 4 of us will experience such distress in our lives, and most of us know friends or family members who have gone through a period of mental ill health. That's why it makes sense to do all we can to protect our health." With this in mind they have developed a free, downloadable activity booklet called "Create Space". It contains a series of mind boosting activity sheets to help one with self expression, relaxation, or even connecting with nature. It is like taking your mind to the gym for a workout and it is something that we all should be doing to maintain our mental health.
You can visit this great organization at: www.startmc.org.uk