Kent Mental Health Hospital Hosts Art Exhibition

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An exhibition featuring artwork by service users struggling with their mental health was held at a hospital in Maidstone.

Service users from Cygnet Hospital Maidstone showcased their creative talents at the exhibition, which was attended by the Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Gordon Newton.

The service is a state-of-the-art, 63 bed mental health facility for adults situated in the Kent Medical Campus in Maidstone

Thanks to the creativity and artistic skills of the service users at the hospital, vibrant drawings and paintings adorned the corridors, giving visitors an insight into how art helps those struggling with their mental health.

The artwork was created by service users who had formed part of an art and wellness group at the hospital. Alongside the mayor, friends, family and carers were also invited to the exhibition.

Alison McCulloch, General Manager at Cygnet Hospital Maidstone, said, “We are very excited here at Cygnet Maidstone to have had an opportunity to exhibit the artwork created by our patients.

“I know they have really enjoyed creating all the items were so pleased the Mayor took time out of his schedule to come and see their creations.”

Kes Davis, Vocational Therapist, organised the event.

He said: “Since starting the art and wellness group the joy and satisfaction it has brought has been Immeasurable.

“It has been an absolute privilege to witness the positive growth of our service users whilst being able to support them through a journey of increasing confidence, self-esteem, self-belief, and nurturing a positive realistic plan to enable them to reach their goals and realise their dreams.

“The service users attending the art and wellbeing group have learned through kinaesthetic therapy and unconditional positive regard that change is not something to be scared of but a new and exciting beginning with a journey starting with one small step and a caring helping hand.

“The therapeutic potential of art to contribute to mental health, well-being, and recovery is widely recognised.

“Benefits include improved self-esteem, self-confidence, communication skills, personal relationships, and fostering greater social inclusion. Art is a proven therapy to help battle depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD, and many more.”

Feedback from the service users has been overwhelmingly positive, with comments such as:

I loved art until I was 19 years old, then everything went wrong and I gave up on art. Now thirty years later I feel like I have found my first love again.

“I never attended any group until I did the art and wellbeing group, now I attend loads, cooking, anger management, mindfulness.

“I’ve never done art before and now I love it. I can speak about stuff and don’t feel judged.”

“I can relax and express what’s going on with me by drawing, I always feel better afterwards.”

Speaking after the visit, Cllr Newston said: “I had a great time visiting this important facility that provides support for adults who are struggling with their mental health.

“I was very grateful to have been invited along to have a look at the fantastic artwork produced by the service users, it was inspiring to see their talent and how they can be so expressive in their art. It was a pleasure to meet some of the hard-working staff too who are clearly passionate about the work they do and providing high quality care for their service users.

“I look forward to keeping in touch with staff and service users at Cygnet Hospital Maidstone to hear more about exciting plans for the future.”

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