1426254715 Together We Can News http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/ Together We Can News en info@togetherwecan.org.uk Copyright 2012 2012-02-22T16:29:00+00:00 How to keep your brain amazing! http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/how-to-keep-your-brain-amazing http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/how-to-keep-your-brain-amazing#When:12:01:00Z A new programme to improve the emotional wellbeing and resilience of primary school children has been designed by psychologists and cognitive behavioural therapists at South London and Maudsley. CUES-Ed is taught in schools to help children recognise how they feel, think and behave, and to learn how to talk about this with others. It encourages them to recognise when things aren’t right – such as an increase in worrying or difficulties in friendship groups – and teaches them simple coping strategies to deal with these challenges.

Inspired by children

CUES-Ed was inspired by feedback from children experiencing mental health difficulties. The CAMHS team at SLaM (along with colleagues from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience) wanted to see if cognitive behavioural therapy could help children experiencing distressing and unusual experiences (such as hearing a voice that other people can’t hear). The therapy was designed to help children develop coping strategies that would reduce their distress and build their resilience.

Those who took part in the Coping with Unusual Experiences Study (CUES) found the therapy helpful, but felt that all children should be taught it at an earlier age. They also suggested that there is a silence around mental wellbeing and emotional vulnerability at school, and that there is still stigma surrounding mental health issues.

So the team decided to devise a programme that would educate children about maintaining their mental health and help build resilience from a young age. Its delivery has been designed as a whole class approach, with the aim of normalising discussions about mental health.

Fun and interactive sessions
drawings from programme

The 'Who I Am and What I Can: How to Keep Your Brain Amazing' package consists of six sessions run by SLaM psychologists and CBT therapists, with teachers actively involved in each session.

‘The six sessions are delivered to whole classes of 7 to 10-year-olds in an active and engaging way,’ explains Debbie Plant, Clinical Psychologist and team lead who also takes a lead on delivery of the sessions.

‘The cognitive behavioural therapy approach enables children to learn that their thoughts, feelings and behaviour are interconnected and that there are practical things they can do to manage life’s ups and downs, both at home and at school.’

The children are taught a range of cognitive and behavioural coping strategies like relaxation, problem solving and positive self-talk. The sessions are fun and interactive, making use of a variety of materials and media including animations, video clips, music, quizzes and fun hands-on activities.

The colourful branding has been made specifically with children in mind, with direction taken from kids who took part in the pilot programme.

‘The designs help the abstract ideas become more concrete and make learning more memorable.  The aim is to engage children in a positive, creative, fun manner whilst developing a strong understanding of mental health and wellbeing,’ says Karen Bracegirdle (CBT Therapist involved in the creation and development of CUES-Ed).

The children receive Ed’s Survival Pack (Ed is the mascot of the programme) to reinforce and encourage learning between the sessions, and teachers are encouraged to set the children home tasks so they can practice what they’ve learnt in their day-to-day lives.

An ongoing project

Since finishing a successful pilot study which had positive feedback, the team have worked with over 350 children across six schools in Southwark. There is great potential for the programme to benefit even more children from different age groups. The team are frequently asked by head teachers whether the package is available for both older and younger primary school children, and in future the team hope to expand and adapt the materials to meet local needs.

Help us continue our work supporting children, young people and adults with mental health issues. Please make a donation to SLaM today.

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2015-03-09T12:01:00+00:00
Spotlight on… Richard Corrigall http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/spotlight-on...-richard-corrigall http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/spotlight-on...-richard-corrigall#When:11:24:00Z Image: Richard with one of the paintings created by service users featured in the recent exhibition at the Long Gallery. 

 

This is the first in our series of staff profiles which will highlight some of the amazing people who work at South London and Maudsley. Richard Corrigall has worked in the Snowsfields Adolescent Unit since it opened in 1998 in its original location of Guy’s Hospital. Now located at Maudsley Hospital, the inpatient and day unit helps young people between the ages of 12 to 18 who have a serious mental illness, supporting them in their recovery and transition back to the community.

What is the name of your role?

Consultant Adolescent Psychiatrist.

Which part of South London and Maudsley do you work in?

Snowsfields Adolescent Unit, which is based in Mapother House at the Maudsley Hospital.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I do ward rounds for team-based care planning, and have face-to-face meetings with young people to catch up on their progress. We hold Care Programme Approach meetings to get young people, carers and professionals together and map out discharge plans. I help with the art therapy group on Thursdays. I also have lots of emails to respond to, unfortunately!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Helping a young person to recover from a major mental health crisis. Nothing feels more rewarding than seeing a teenager get back to the life that they want and deserve.

Which part of your job is most challenging?

I have to deal with a lot of form-filling and box-ticking, which I don’t really enjoy. 

What is your favourite thing about South London and Maudsley?

Working alongside top-quality clinicians and inspiring researchers.

What’s your proudest achievement in your career to date?

Starting up Snowsfields Adolescent Unit from scratch in 1998. We were the first adolescent psychiatric unit in the UK to make all of our beds available at all hours for emergency admissions.

What do you like to do outside of work in your free time?

Cycling and photography; I’m obsessed with both!

Name one thing that the service users might not know about you.

I suffered from a severe episode of depression, but made a good recovery.

If you could only take one thing to a desert island, what would it be?

An off-road bike to explore the island with.

Read about the Long Gallery at South London and Maudsley, which recently featured an exhibition by service users that was coordinated by Richard. If you were inspired by this story, perhaps you'd consider fundraising for SLaM

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2015-03-06T11:24:00+00:00
A new home for art and history at Bethlem Royal Hospital http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/a-new-home-for-art-and-history-at-bethlem-royal-hospital http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/a-new-home-for-art-and-history-at-bethlem-royal-hospital#When:16:22:00Z Thanks to the generosity of donors, an impressive historical archive and gallery have moved to a new space that will allow a much larger range of works to be displayed to the public for free. Bethlem Museum of the Mind and Bethlem Gallery, formerly housed in small, non-descript buildings, officially opened in the spacious deco administration building at Bethlem Royal Hospital on 19 February.

No longer a ‘hidden gem’

Bethlem Archives and Museum began in 1969 and has been managed by registered charity Bethlem Art and History Collections Trust since 1992. The museum houses over 1,000 fascinating artworks and historical artefacts relating to mental illness, and the archives hold the key to the hospital’s history in documents including staff records, correspondence, maps and photographs. 

Victoria Northwood, Head of Archives and Museum, explains why the move to the new building is so important.

‘The Archives and Museum at Bethlem have always been rather a ”hidden gem”, she says. ‘The move to new facilities will be transformative, enabling us to publicise our collections more widely and welcome an increased number of visitors.’

The museum will feature permanent and temporary exhibitions, events and a learning space that will be used to deliver an education programme and for SLaM’s Recovery College to run courses and talks on mental health and well-being. 

Illuminating artworks

Alongside artworks by contemporary services users, visitors can see pieces by former patients of Bethlem. These include works by Victorian painter Richard Dadd, famous for his depictions of fairies and the supernatural; drawings by 20th century artist Louis Wain that feature psychedelic depictions of cats (see painting below); and the intricate painting The Maze created by Canadian artist William Kurelek while he was a patient at the Maudsley in 1953. 

The art deco staircase in the administration building is now flanked by two of the museum’s most famous and striking pieces: the life-size statues of ‘Raving and Melancholy Madness’ that were displayed at the entrance to Bethlem Hospital (then known as Bedlam) from 1676 to 1815.

Bethlem Gallery will also be provided with a new gallery and studio space. Established in 1997, the gallery highlights the importance of art as therapy and features the work of SLaM service users. Both the museum and gallery have gained an international reputation for excellence in the field of arts in health.  Now, with the organisations under one roof, visitors will be able to experience artwork from the historic collection that spans centuries alongside that of current artists involved with SLaM’s services today. All this has been made possible thanks to generous donors.

Thank you to all our supporters

‘We’re thrilled to have opened this pioneering and unique space which brings together a rich collection of history and art,’ says Paul Mitchell, CEO of Maudsley Charity. ‘The museum and gallery project is a perfect example of how charitable donations can help to support and preserve our history and enable us to provide a space that is open and accessible to everyone. 

‘We work hard to break down barriers and challenge stigma in mental health and this project will enable us to work even closer with our local communities and the wider public. The project would not have been possible without the help of a number of large donors and we are especially grateful to South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund who made substantial donations on top of the investment made by the Maudsley Charity.’

Your support enables us to fund projects like this that help people with mental health issues and challenge stigma. Please make a donation today so we can continue our work.

Below: painting by Louis Wain from the collection

cat painting by Louis Wain

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2015-02-04T16:22:00+00:00
Thank you for your support http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/thank-you-for-your-support http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/thank-you-for-your-support#When:11:56:00Z Now the new year has begun, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2014 and everything you helped us achieve last year.

Our supporters did amazing things to fundraise for SLaM in 2014. There was an abseil down a 100ft building, a swim in the Thames, a miniature art exhibition, a pub quiz and our dedicated runners took part in the Bupa 10,000, Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon and Virgin Money London Marathon. We’re so grateful to all of our fundraisers, donors, volunteers and advocates who help us to make a difference to people with mental health issues.

Thanks to generous donations, these are some of the projects that have been funded this year:

  • A new Recovery College which provides a range of free educational courses and resources for people with experience of mental illness, from service users to their family, friends and staff, to improve understanding of mental health.
     
  • The Four in Ten peer support group which provides a safe place where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people with mental health problems can socialise, share experiences and support one another.
     
  • The SHARE Project which prepares people to speak about their mental health experiences in public, empowering them to help themselves and others.
     
  • CoolFruit, a digital magazine run by CoolTan Arts, that enables adults with mental health issues to express their creativity and learn new transferable skills.
     
  • The Dementia Monologues, a series of films about dementia that address some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the disease, as well as serve as an educational tool.


We couldn’t do it without you – thank you.

Let’s make 2015 even better. Why not take on a new challenge this year and raise money for SLaM?

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2015-01-13T11:56:00+00:00
​CoolFruit magazine: a channel for creativity http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/coolfruit-magazine-a-channel-for-creativity http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/coolfruit-magazine-a-channel-for-creativity#When:11:29:00Z The online publication CoolFruit is produced by Southwark-based arts and mental health charity CoolTan Arts, and is put together by a team of ten talented contributors. It features content from participants, volunteers and CoolTan staff, most of whom have long-term mental health needs.

Giving people a voice

The magazine provides adults with mental health issues a platform to express their creativity through writing, art and design, and is supported by generous donations.

‘CoolFruit gives people with mental health issues a voice; they need to be heard a lot more about what’s happening to them,’ says Annie Spinster, Coordinator of CoolFruit.

‘There’s an amazing amount of talent in the group and it’s lovely watching people’s skills develop and seeing how excited everybody is when their work is featured. Contributors feel proud to be able to show their family and friends what they’re doing and be treated seriously as artists.’

The fourth issue of the magazine is now available to read online. The December issue reflects the themes of the festive season together with items about important social issues. It features poetry, recipes and artwork, as well as articles on diverse subjects such as self-advocacy, Seasonal Affective Disorder and the history of the umbrella.
 

Building confidence

Working on the magazine provides contributors with an opportunity to improve their writing, research or design skills, as well as develop a portfolio of work for those who are preparing for college or employment.

‘It gives them confidence and they get to meet new people within a supportive environment,’ says Annie. ‘Our volunteers have told us that it’s a lot easier to share their experiences than it has been in other settings – and we’re good at going at people’s own paces.

‘Over half the volunteers who have worked on and since moved on from the project have actually gone on to work or college, so that is something we’re doing quite well.’
The online format with unrestricted space encourages a wide range of content, so CoolFruit run an open submissions policy for anyone within CoolTan Arts who wishes to participate.

Hattie is a volunteer at CoolTan Arts and has been working on the CoolFruit team as a writer since early 2014. She says there are a number of elements she enjoys, such as the supportive group environment.

‘It’s a good thing to have structure in my week and allows me to meet up with people that have a common goal: producing the magazine. I try and write about things that I wish I had known and would have found helpful. It feels like we’re doing something that not only helps us, but helps other people.’

Read the December issue of CoolFruit.

You can help support projects like this - make a donation to SLaM today.

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2014-12-15T11:29:00+00:00
SLaM fundraiser Ella inspired by young service user http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/clinical-psychologist-ella-inspired-to-fundraise-by-young-service-user http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/clinical-psychologist-ella-inspired-to-fundraise-by-young-service-user#When:16:27:00Z Clinical psychologist at SLaM Ella McCabe has taken her dedication to her workplace one step - or 13.1 miles - further by running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October to raise money for Carelink.

Part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Clinical and Academic Group, Carelink is a mental health and therapeutic service in Southwark for children in foster care and their carers. It offers support to young people up to the age of 18 who may be going through emotional distress or behavioural difficulties, often as a result of challenging early life experiences that resulted in them going into care.

‘The majority of the children we see have experienced abuse or neglect growing up,’ says Ella. ‘Carelink gives them somewhere to talk about distressing things or helps them use play, art, or drama to express their feelings. Support is also given to foster carers around how best to help the child in their new home and to schools around how to support child's development.’

Ella, who has worked at SLaM since June 2014, was inspired to fundraise by one particular young service user with learning difficulties and her interaction with Carelink’s resources.

‘She was due to transition from foster care to adoption,’ explains Ella. ‘We were using two dolls’ houses to try and help her think about where she was now and where she was going and to allow her to begin to express her feelings around the move. The girl looked at the dolls’ house that represented her new home and began to inspect it closely, looking at the various bits of furniture, which were all quite worn and worse for wear due to repeated use. It was as if she questioned whether she would like to move into this old, shabby house.

‘This experience led me to think that raising money for more resources such as new dolls’ houses, furniture and art materials would help our work with children who were very much in need of support.’

The Royal Parks Half Marathon starts and finishes in Hyde Park, following a course through four of the capital’s magnificent Royal Parks and past its most iconic landmarks. The weather on the day was fine, allowing the 16,000 runners to complete the picturesque route in bright autumnal sunshine, all cheered on by around 50,000 spectators.

Ella finished in an impressive 1 hour 57 minutes, and smashed her £400 target by raising over £525 for Carelink. 

'The atmosphere carried me along and I was thrilled with my time,' she says. 'Walking up and down the stairs was sore for a while afterwards! But all my friends and family’s support and donations have made it well worth it. There’s great work being done at SLaM and it feels good to be able to support that.’

If you were inspired by this story, find out how you can take part in an event for SLaM

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2014-11-11T16:27:00+00:00
Maudsley Charity funds new scholarships http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/maudsley-charity-funds-new-scholarships http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/maudsley-charity-funds-new-scholarships#When:14:53:00Z A group of aspiring mental health professionals from different backgrounds are taking their studies to the next level.

Ten talented graduates are receiving financial support from a new scholarship scheme so that they can study on postgraduate mental health courses at the prestigious Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN, formerly known as the Institute of Psychiatry), which is part of King’s College London.

Funding for the King’s Access to the Professions Scholarship scheme comes from HEFCE (the government’s higher education funding body) and from Maudsley Charity, which is working in partnership with the IoPPN and Maudsley Learning to run the project.

‘We are aiming to encourage under-represented groups to enter the profession,’ says Genevieve Glover, Maudsley Learning’s Managing Director. ‘Winning a scholarship at the world-renowned institute is a great opportunity for people who may not normally be able to fund postgraduate study.’

This summer, Maudsley Learning helped the IoPPN to promote the scheme and to draw up a shortlist of scholarship candidates for recruitment into postgraduate courses that cover a wide range of subjects such as child and adolescent mental health, family therapy, dementia, addiction and neuro-imaging.

‘We have used our networks in mental health, our fantastic venue and our social media to complement the IoPPN’s promotion of the scheme and attract students from a broader section of society,’ says Genevieve. ‘We’ve been delighted with the academic qualifications and talents of the people who have applied.’

To prepare them for the year ahead, the successful scholars took part in a week-long summer school at the ORTUS learning and events centre, produced with the IoPPN and hosted by Maudsley Learning.

Maudsley Learning will help arrange suitable internships to ensure scholars gain hands-on experience in a variety of settings, something that will be of great value as they navigate towards possible careers in mental health services.

As the scheme is a pilot with funding for one year, the team involved in the project will monitor the scholars’ progress to provide evidence of its success in encouraging a wider cross-section of people to enter mental health professions.

‘This sort of collaboration is exactly what Maudsley Learning is here for,’ says Genevieve. ‘With our strong social agenda and impressive network of partnerships, we can help the IoPPN to reach out to new audiences and open doors to people who may have struggled to afford postgraduate study.'

Your support can help fund students to continue their studies in vital areas of mental health.

Find out more about the scholarships.

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2014-10-31T14:53:00+00:00
Aiming to change the game in mental health http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/aiming-for-mental-health-in-sport http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/aiming-for-mental-health-in-sport#When:09:52:00Z Above: Hull FC v Hull Kingston Rovers at Hull’s KC Stadium, in August 2014

Maudsley Learning is working with the world of sport to raise awareness of the importance of mental as well as physical wellbeing.

In September 2010, the sport of Rugby League was shocked to hear of the suicide of one of its most famous players: the Great Britain forward Danny Newton. He was just 31, and serving a ban after having failed a drugs test.

Newton’s death stirred one league fan, Dr Phil Cooper, an NHS Nurse Consultant, into exploring what he could do to help prevent another similar tragedy. ‘I had a big interest in sport and a passion for mental health; drug and alcohol misuse was my day job. I wanted to know whether we could offer rugby league more support from the NHS. I had a couple of meetings, got some key people involved and it all snowballed very, very quickly.’

State of Mind programme

Now, backed by Rugby League’s governing body and several NHS Trusts, the State of Mind programme gives presentations on mental health to players and fans nationwide and helps them to access help where required. In August, a weekend of Super League games carried State of Mind branding, with accompanying events to raise awareness.

‘I think there was scepticism from club owners when we started,’ says Phil. ‘But players say that you need to be mentally fit to play. If your mind’s not working you can’t perform, no matter how physically strong you are. And I think clubs have got that message now.’

Phil and some of his team from State of Mind were among the speakers at ‘Game Changing in Mental Health: Tackling Stigma and Building Resilience in Elite Sport’, a groundbreaking conference on sport and mental health organised by Maudsley Learning in July.

Other speakers included Paul Farmer, the chief executive of MIND, as well as professionals with experience of most of the UK’s major sports, among them the England football team doctor Ian Beasley; the founder of the Professional rugby players union Damien Hopley, and Ian Braid of the British Athletes Commission. Paralympic archery champion Danielle Brown spoke about the pressures of focusing months or even years of work towards a single decisive day of competition.

Testimonies from people in sport

As well as presentations of current academic research, the conference heard first-person testimony from sports people who had faced their own mental health issues. Ex-Rugby League player Danny Sculthorpe, now one of State of Mind’s outreach workers, and award-winning tennis coach Oli Jones both spoke bravely and movingly about their own experiences of depression.

Issues explored included the effects of retirement and long-term injury on self-esteem; and the need for professional sports to look after the huge percentage of would-be elite athletes who fall short of their dream of playing professional sport. The overriding theme, though, was of working to remove the stigma of mental illness.

Most delegates believed that the benefits of addressing mental health issues in and around elite sport would also extend to sports supporters and the community at large.

‘Football is a working-class sport and it’s a tool we can use to reach a wider audience,’ said Michael Bennett, a former footballer with Millwall, Brentford and Brighton, who is now the FA’s Head of Player Welfare. ‘The issue of mental health is massive and it’s not going to go away. You’re always going to get players that get injured or lose their contracts. Relationship issues. Financial issues. I’m trying to get things in place to deal with the fallout for the players who are going through those issues.’

Acting before it's too late

There have been a string of high-profile cases of sportsmen struggling with mental health issues in recent years, including the suicide of Wales football manager Gary Speed in 2011. It was perhaps the public case of England cricketer Marcus Trescothick, forced home from a tour of India by depression, in 2006 that first started to bring the issue into the public eye. Dr Nick Peirce, who as Chief Medical Officer of the England and Wales Cricket Board, has worked with Trescothick, was chair of the conference.

‘I thought it was a great mixture of personal testimony and good information from specific sports,’ he said afterwards. ‘There was an interesting openness admitting that we don’t really know all the answers, even when we do have the resources. We need to work on coach education, addressing stigma… But clearly we’ve come some way in the last seven or eight years in starting to break through, but we still have a long way to go.’

Conference organiser Genevieve Glover said that the conference was intended as a springboard for Maudsley Learning’s ongoing exploration of the subject of mental health in sport. ‘We wanted to start a conversation about mental health and elite sport. We pulled a great bunch of people together from all sorts of disciplines and the key now is to do something with it, to maintain momentum.’

You can help us support more people with mental health issues in all walks of life by donating to SLAM.

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2014-10-17T09:52:00+00:00
SLaM psychologist Ella runs the Royal Parks Half Marathon http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/slam-psychologist-ella-runs-royal-parks http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/slam-psychologist-ella-runs-royal-parks#When:08:32:00Z Autumn is well and truly upon us, bringing with it one of London’s most famous and picturesque road races. The Royal Parks Half Marathon starts and finishes in Hyde Park, following a route through four of the capital’s magnificent Royal Parks and past its most iconic landmarks.

Amongst the runners tackling the 13.1 mile route were many of our wonderful supporters, all raising money for South London and Maudsley (SLaM).

Clinical psychologist Ella McCabe was one of those runners, taking her dedication to SLaM even further by raising money for Carelink, a mental health service for children in foster care and their carers. Carelink is run by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and offers support to young people up to the age of 18 who go through emotional distress or behavioural difficulties, often as a result of challenging early life experiences that resulted in them being taken into care.

‘The majority of the children we see have experienced abuse or neglect growing up,’ says Ella. ‘Carelink gives them somewhere to talk about distressing things or helps them use play, art, or drama to express their feelings. Support is also given to foster carers around how best to help the child in their new home and to schools around how to support the child's development.’

Statistics show that 60 per cent of children in care experience some form of mental health difficulties and one third of children involved in the criminal justice system have been in care. Carelink’s services are vital in supporting the children of Southwark who find themselves in such circumstances.

Over 16,000 runners competed with around 50,000 spectators cheering them on around the route, ensuring it was a fantastic atmosphere on the day for all. Ella finished in an impressive 1 hour 57 minutes and raised over £525 for Carelink.

'The atmosphere carried me along and I was thrilled with my time,' says Ella. 'Walking up and down the stairs is still sore! But I'm nearly there and all my friend's and family's support and donations have made it well worth it.'

Inspired to show your support and become a fundrasier for SLaM? Find out more about ways to get involved.

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2014-10-09T08:32:00+00:00
SLaM’s smallest fundraising initiative http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/slams-smallest-fundraising-initiative http://www.togetherwecan.org.uk/maudsley/news/slams-smallest-fundraising-initiative#When:13:30:00Z Sara Muzira was cleaning out her garage when she came across an old doll’s house. The discovery sparked an idea that enabled her and her son, Simba, to give something back to Maudsley Hospital.

Simba, 31, was treated for psychosis at the hospital as an inpatient on the Acute Men’s Ward. After leaving the ward, he enrolled in a 12-week occupational therapy course provided by the Community Link Centre, which was based within the hospital.

The Centre provides group activity programmes for people aged between 18 and 65 who are receiving mental health inpatient care at the hospital, as well as for people who are outpatients living in Southwark.

‘The Centre provided a lovely environment that focused on relationships, and it was nice to see Simba interested in normal activities,’ says Sara.

The art of wellbeing

During his time at the Centre, Simba took part in activities such as cooking and painting. Realising his talent for art, the staff gave him paints and canvases.

‘Simba had painted and done graffiti work before, but not for years, so it was good of them to pick up on something he could already do and was good at,’ says Sara.

He so excelled at painting that the Community Link Centre held a private viewing of his work.

‘Simba sold several of his pictures and used the money to pay for more materials,’ says Sara. 

Sara praises both the Centre and its staff as having a really positive effect on Simba.

‘The practical activities gave him focus and the Centre was such a calm and creative place,’ she says. ‘He was treated like an equal, but there was also a school vibe to the atmosphere. If you showed good behaviour, then in return you got to paint, creating mutual respect between Simba and the staff. The Centre isn’t a cure-all, but it was good for him to be around people who encouraged him to respect himself and other people, and who looked beyond his psychosis.’

For this reason, when Sara chanced upon the doll’s house, she came up with the idea to convert it into a gallery. Sara, Simba, and over 50 other artisists (many of whom had connections to Maudsley Hospital) created miniature pieces of art to exhibit within it.

Squeezing it all in

As the gallery is so small, the pieces could be no bigger than six inches by six inches, leading Sara to invent the name ‘The Ludicrously Small Art Gallery’. The gallery was exhibited in Bury St Edmunds in March of this year and was a great success, raising a total of £1,160. Several of the staff from the Centre attended the exhibition to show their support.

Following on from the success of ‘The Ludicrously Small Art Gallery’, Sara held ‘The Ludicrously Small Art Gallery, Round Two’ in early September and raised even more money for SLaM.

‘The exhibition went well. We raised £150 from the sale of work which I was really pleased with,’ says Sara. ‘It was lovely to be able to display the small works of art that were donated last time as well as new ones. They were all created especially for the gallery with a lot of care and it would be great to think that eventually it will all sell,’ she says.

And it still doesn’t end there!

‘I certainly intend to have another exhibition perhaps next year, and I may venture onto the internet with it. I’m hoping that even when visitors haven’t bought art, that they have been made aware of SLaM, and the many people with mental health issues that need its support,’ she says.

There are many ways you can fundraise for SLaM - find out how you can support people like Simba, now

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2014-09-29T13:30:00+00:00