Students create artwork to promote good mental health and brighten treatment building

NSFT's Emma Bosier with the winners of the Be Yourself art competition. Picture: NSFT

NSFT's Emma Bosier with the winners of the Be Yourself art competition. Picture: NSFT - Credit: Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

A number of students from East Anglia have drawn on their creativity as part of a project to promote good mental health.

The Be Yourself art competition, organised by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), was designed to raise awareness of mental health issues affecting young people.

Students were encouraged to create works of art that would encourage a positive mental outlook, in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Week (May 14-20).

The work will also be used to brighten the reception area at Mary Chapman House, which is where the Under 14s Children, Families and Young People’s (CFYP) team is based in Norwich.

Nationally, there has been a sharp rise in reported levels of anxiety and stress in school-aged children – with an estimated three children in every classroom suffering from an active mental health condition.

Emma Bosier, a psychiatry trainee in the CFYP team, who judged the artwork along with colleague and art psychotherapist Sarah Harley, said: “The competition had two aims. Firstly, we wanted to raise awareness of mental health among young people, and involving local students in an art competition on the theme ‘Be Yourself’ seemed a good way to get them thinking about what mental health means to them.

“Also, the waiting area at Mary Chapman House is the first place young people accessing our services see when they come into the building. It’s already got a child-friendly look, but we wanted to add artwork created by young people to help teenagers feel even more comfortable in the surroundings.”

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The three winners were chosen from 20 finalists from a local school, whose pictures have all gone on display at Mary Chapman House. The winners – Joseph in Year 9, Thia in Year 8 and Aiden in Year 7 – were also presented with certificates.

Ms Harley said: “We were really impressed by the effort the children put into responding to the theme thoughtfully and the creative and varied artworks submitted.

“It was really hard to choose winners and in the end we looked for those which combined the issues of young people’s wellbeing and mental health needs with strong imaginative design.”

An online gallery of the artwork can be viewed here:

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