In this story: Mental health /

"One of the great things about art is its inclusivity, we can all call ourselves Artists."

“I work for Health in Mind, a Scottish charity which strives for people to live in a supportive and resilient community where mental health is understood and people can lead fulfilling lives. I work in Midlothian, dividing my time between being a support worker and a project worker.

Like many others, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been working from home since 16th March.

I’m proud at how quickly we were able to shift our ways of working as an organisation. We have been able to develop and put in place creative ways to support people and I now provide more phone support and host support groups online where people can connect with each other and feel like a community. We have seen a large increase in the number of people contacting us looking for information and support with their mental health and wellbeing.

It’s important now more than ever that we all look after our mental health and practice self-care. One of the ways I take care of my mental health and wellbeing is by being creative.

For most of my life I have used art as a way of understanding and contemplating the world and it has provided an escape from the stresses that modern society often places on people. I remember loving Art classes at school, getting away from academic learning, the dualistic right or wrong of other subjects, a place where I could relax and have time to express myself.

One of the great things about art is its inclusivity, we can all call ourselves Artists. Anyone can have a go and once the initial concerns of ‘being good at it’ are addressed, people can realize that the process alone is valuable, the sensual joy of simply working with our hands, slowing down, carefully observing and becoming involved with the medium….

And so I encourage the people I work with to allow time for contemplation through artwork, taking the time to just sit down and draw is a mindful and meditative experience, bringing your awareness and senses to the present.”

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