Art is medication with only good side effects, therapy without boundaries and a means to an end that is also an end in itself.
Art in Minds (AIMs) came into being as a project of Shrub Hill Workshop to celebrate World Mental Health Day by showcasing the wealth of untapped and largely unrecognised talent that exists in the mental health arena. Those of us with mental illness or who are carers are not generally confident about our own abilities and would be unlikely to exhibit the work that we do. The therapeutic value of art in all its forms is now fairly well documented but is only recently being brought into the mainstream of mental health. Being able to express deep emotions and fears through art, or just to be able to put aside for a while the illness while we immerse ourselves in painting, drawing, or any other art form, can be a milestone in recovery.
Sadly, most people’s art remains hidden away from public sight as lack of confidence prevents most people from exhibiting. If the confidence hurdle is overcome there is often a lack of opportunity to display those works and together with the financial considerations of exhibiting means that this art stays hidden. This is where initiatives like AIMs come into its own.
AIMs hopes to put mental health art in the public eye. It provides a safe, supportive and professional way for those with experience of
mental distress to show and possibly sell their work with pride.
AIMs has evolved into an organisation run by current and ex-mental health service users, supported by a health trust funded artist and an occupational therapist.
Written by Rob Evans ex-mental health service user who is also a founder member of the AIMs Group.