Ambient workshop

Ambient Exhibition at Maudsley Hospital for Mental Health Awareness Week

Art created by people supported at Ambient’s mental health services is shown at Maudsley Hospital in partnership with Bethlem Gallery, for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

In the lead up to Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, Ambient Support launched an art workshop campaign across a number of their mental health services, to provide a safe and encouraging creative space for clients to create artwork that explored this year’s theme, “anxiety”.

The art created at these sessions is being displayed in gallery space at the Maudsley Hospital in South London, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness week, until 31 May 2023.

Ambient Occupational Therapy Technician, Melissa Charlton, helped to facilitate and co-ordinate the art sessions and observed the participants’ experience taking part.

She said “Our mental health art sessions enabled the people we support to tap into their inner thoughts, feelings and experiences of anxiety through creative expression. We also encouraged them to talk about the images and to begin to look to themselves for meaning and insight. Combined with staff supporting the art sessions, it helped participants promote self-expression, increase self-awareness and self-worth, and decrease stress and anxiety. Everyone who took part enjoyed the experience and emanated satisfaction”.

Ambient workshop

Research demonstrates that creative art activities can have a positive impact on people’s wellbeing and recovery. An Occupational Therapy assessment was used to capture and evaluate the impact, meaning and value of the art sessions. The assessment findings identified:

  • 92% of people demonstrated emotional connection and focus throughout the art session.
  • 84% stayed engaged and focused.
  • 76% sought to challenge themselves.

The people that took part are supported by Ambient in a number of settings including care homes and supported living services.

Work by Ambient workshop participant David

David, a participant of the art group, said; 

“I enjoyed the art session very much, the painting that I did was in the moment. I think the art sessions help to take your mind off any anxiety or problems you may be having”.

Gary, who also took part, said; “The art session was therapeutic, and it allows you to be artistic. My drawing depicts my anxiety and thoughts intertwined with mental illness; doing the artwork help symbolise my thoughts and anxiety which helps with wellbeing.”

Art workshop participant, Jonathan, enjoyed the experience, saying; “Yes, it was very good, it was relaxing and creative and I would like to attend the group again”.

Work by Ambient workshop participant Gary

Carmel Woolmington, Art Strategy Manager, Bethlem Gallery and SLaM Trust, said; 

“We are delighted to partner with Ambient for Mental Health Awareness Week. As organisations’ championing greater awareness and understanding of mental health, we share an ethos to shape a creative landscape which encourages this awareness, and support artists with lived experience of mental health services. Drawing on this year’s theme of anxiety, we hope this exhibition highlights the therapeutic impact of arts practice; that art can be a powerful form of expression; and a way to respond to anxious thoughts and feelings.”

See more artwork from the project below:

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