Express yourself - a creative approach to mental health and well-being
We continue to celebrate Children's Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 by bringing you stories of how your donations help our young patient express themselves in a healthy and safe way.
One of the ways your donations have supported our patients and their families is through our long-standing Alder Hey Arts for Health programme, delivered by a wide range of professional artists, musicians and partner organisations.
“It makes you happy learning about music and you forget and just play. It got me out of bed and made me smile.” - Mia, age 10
The programme has been co-ordinated by Vicky Charnock for over 10 years and her expertise has attracted professionals from many other hospitals to seek inspiration and advice from Alder Hey. Vicky explains simply why the programme is so important for supporting mental health
“We know from proven research and our experience that taking part in creative arts programmes can help children and young people to increase their emotional resilience, improve confidence and self esteem, as well as overcoming the stigma of living with a mental health condition.” - Vicky Charnock, Arts Coordinator
Through the one arts project we met an amazing young woman called Lydia, who helped to bring her experiences as an Alder Hey CAMHS patient to making an animated film with our friends at Twin Vision. The animation was made to be used by schools and across the community to help tackle stigma around mental health conditions and premiered at Tate Liverpool.
Please take a few minutes to read Lydia’s story here.
The Arts for Health programme has been adapted to deliver sessions and performances for well-being throughout the COVID-19 crisis, aiming to continue to reach as many children as we can.
Here are some of the ways we have helped continue to support our Alder Hey family:
- Bespoke music concerts for children and their families, broadcast to entertainment systems in their bedrooms.
- Online music workshops with patients from Dewi Jones Mental Health Unit
- An online creative writing programme for Alder Hey staff, led by Bernadette McBride from the University of Liverpool
Some of our broadcasted concerts are aimed at Early Years children and some for older patients. We have featured a range of performers including a harpist, cellist, guitarist and keyboard, all encouraging patients and their families to sing along and get involved.
We are also continuing our work with Comics Youth and The Bluecoat Display Centre via online sessions and throughout the year, and had a programme of online dance and movement workshops for patients and their families. Your generosity has also funded the development of a bespoke six week dance and movement programme for Alder Hey NHS staff. The live-streamed sessions, delivered by Small Things Dance Company, run with a focus on relaxation and mental well-being.
Thank you for continuing to support projects that help children express themselves and are proven to reduce anxiety, worries and even distracting children and young people from physical pain whilst they are treated in hospital.
You can help by donating to our 7 in 10 Children's Mental Health Appeal by clicking on the donate button below or by texting EXPRESS 5 to 70490 to donate £5
(texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message), or by signing up to join challenge ambassador Tommy Fury and our brilliant supporters by pledging to add to our #MillionMiles target here.