Art therapy session: credit Magic Carpet charity

Creatively exploring mental health

A workshop to increase awareness of alternative approaches to treating mental illness and fostering wellbeing is being held at St Stephen’s Church, High Street Exeter on Friday 7 November. 

A University of Exeter historian of mental illness will be working in partnership with the Executive Director of ‘Magic Carpet’ one of Exeter’s leading arts for health charities, to encourage open conversations about mental health and the values of creative therapy for people with mental illness.

With recent news about under spending by local authorities, celebrities such as the late Robin Williams who battled depression and the numerous inequalities surrounding mental illness in the workplace, mental health remains an emotive topic.

The workshops last for an hour and a half and are open and free to anyone who has an interest in mental health. During the art-printing session, Dr Haggett and Rob Wynne hope to explore the values of the creative arts on wellbeing. Along with a qualified creative art therapist, Rob Wynne will lead the printing session. Drawing on her current research, which looks at the concept of ‘balance’ in mental health and wellbeing, Dr Haggett will pose questions about how individuals come to understand their own experiences of mental health and illness and what influences their opinions about treatment and healing.

Dr Haggett explained: “The therapeutic arts promote conversation, self-expression and healing in a safe, caring environment. The technique has much to offer as one of a range of treatments for mental illness, and it has been used throughout history, and in many different cultures, to promote healing. This session is for anyone who is interested to learn more about creative art therapy and we are keen to explore how participants’ feel about its benefits on mood and wellbeing. Rob and the charity Magic Carpet have many years of experience in the creative arts and have had long term impact on many participants’ lives in Exeter and the surrounding areas. They are the perfect partners for this event.”

The three workshop sessions start at 10am, 12 midday and 2pm, though participants are being requested to come 15 minutes early to allow time for introductions over tea and coffee. 

The workshop is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2014 at the University of Exeter, which has a range of activities of 1 – 8 November. The Economic Social Research Council festival aims to promote the values of the social sciences and raise awareness about the ways in which they shape lives and influences public policy.

Date: 4 November 2014

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