Mind launches national art contest to highlight scandal of "unsafe, un-therapeutic" wards
Posted Thursday 22 July 2004
Photo call: Foyer of Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough Common, Orpington, 10.30am to 12pm, Thursday 22 July 2004 – Interactive art workshop held by Bromley Mind in main hospital foyer
Focus on the art of hospital care with new Mind competition: Mind launches national art contest to highlight scandal of "unsafe, un-therapeutic" wards
Mind, the leading mental health charity in England and Wales, today launches an exciting new initiative giving people with mental health problems the opportunity to express their feelings about being in hospital through the medium of art (1) – and have it seen by MPs, Government ministers and Welsh Assembly members.
The competition is part of Ward Watch, a campaign to be launched by Mind in September, aiming to bring about improvements in hospital conditions for people with mental health problems. Every year, 37,996 people in England and Wales spend time in hospital with mental health problems (2). New research undertaken by Mind, to be unveiled in a report on 7 September, will highlight the scandalous lack of safety and dignity still faced by a high proportion of patients.
To launch the competition, the charity is inviting inpatients and the general public to take part in an open art session in the foyer of the Princess Royal University Hospital, Orpington, on Thursday 22 July. Participants will be encouraged to express themselves artistically with expert creative tutors from Bromley Mind. The competition will be launched in Wales at the National Eisteddfod on 3 August.
The charity is inviting people to send in photographs of two-dimensional artworks, encapsulating their feelings about the experience of being a psychiatric inpatient, by 1 November 2004. The best will be exhibited to MPs at a special showing in London in the New Year. The exhibition will then be shown to Welsh Assembly members in Cardiff, and at Mind’s Annual Conference in Harrogate in March 2005. Prizes will be supplied by London Art Limited and Jacksons Art Supplies (3).
A Mind survey exploring alternatives to drug therapy found that art, music and drama therapy were among the top three therapies rated as helpful by users of mental health services (4).
Richard Brook, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
"Many people at our 210 local groups across England and Wales tell us how important art and creativity are to their mental well-being, and we feel that championing self expression for people with mental health problems is extremely important in breaking down the ongoing stigma surrounding mental ill health.
We hope that the artworks generated by this competition will bring home to MPs, other decision makers and the general public some of the harsh realities faced by people in psychiatric inpatient care."
Bromley Mind, like many other Mind groups, runs art workshops for people with mental health problems. It also works closely with Oxleas NHS trust, including the recently re-opened Princess Royal University Hospital, on a range of community based services. The group has recently been working in partnership with the trust to increase activities for inpatients and promote community links and opportunities for people in hospital.
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1. Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. Ward Watch will be launched on 7 September 2004 with a report containing new research on the experiences of people who have been in psychiatric inpatient care in the past three years. The Ward Watch art competition is open to any individual mental health service user or group of mental health service users. The closing date for entries is 1 November 2004. Entries must consist of a two-dimensional artwork, either painting, drawing or mixed media but not photographs, and must be no larger than A3 (297 x 420 mm). Entrants should submit a colour photograph or slide of the original artwork, not original artworks.
2. Number of unfinished episodes at 31 March 2003. Department of Health (2003). Statistical Bulletin. Census of Patients at 31 March 2003. The National Assembly for Wales (2003)
3. Prizes of art materials have been kindly donated by Jackson' Art Supplies, No1 Farleigh Place, London, N16 7SX - 0870 241 1849, and London Art Limited, 132 Finchley Road, London, NW3 5HS - 0870 760 6286
4. Research for Mind’s My Choice campaign 2002. The top five alternatives to medication rated by respondents were: counselling, group therapy, art/music/drama therapy, psychotherapy and aromatherapy.