Arts and Mental Health Churchill Fellowships devolution Recovery

Art Thou Well? Towards creative Devolution of mental health in Greater Manchester

This report explores the myriad roles the arts could, and do, play in the service of mental health in Greater Manchester (GM), and is written in the context of the Devolution deal of 2014. GM is the UK’s first city region to have made the arts and culture integral to its health strategy. The report (download here) comprises a comparative study of practices in Finland and the USA, using a psychological perspective. Practical examples are presented, followed by Insights into how they apply to GM. The report is a result of a Churchill Travelling Fellowship for which during 2017 I visited over 40 organisations in Finland and the US.

My thanks and gratitude to every one of more than 300 people who kindly gave me their time, their views and insights, and their experiences that made producing this report possible and enjoyable – and challenging! I hope I have reflected the value of some of the amazing examples I observed and participated in – and why we should take notice.

What’s Next?

Last month I began sharing the findings of my Fellowship, starting with the first meeting of the Live Well: Make Art network following the successful Great Places Scheme for Greater Manchester (Join us! Mailing list: The event explored how the arts can address social isolation and loneliness by building positive social connections.

Throughout June I’m sharing my findings with several groups. On Monday 4th June the Manchester Central CCG (Care Commissioning Group) will consider the findings and the implications. I hope that the report will enable us to broker new relationships between the health and arts sectors.

On 5th June, Clive Parkinson at Arts for Health (where my Fellowship began) and Professor Jill Bennett, Director of Sydney, Australia’s Big Anxiety Festival will share her work from the 2017 festival which saw 75 events across Sydney, with 140,000 visitors and 16 major commissions. Book a place at the free event here.

Next week (4 – 10 June 2018) is the seventh annual Creativity and Wellbeing Week, by led London Arts in Health Forum and supported by Arts Council England.

Following the completion of the Fellowship in 2017, I’m employed in NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and looking forward to putting my research into practice.

This week, this brilliant resource has been made available from the US Department of Arts and Culture, download ‘Art & Wellbeing, Toward a Culture of Health

I’d love to hear how you or your organisation are using or plan to use any arts and health reports. Please share stories of challenges, successes, and impact:

Contact me:    |    Twitter: @communikatt

Voices from Finland… …

a preview of the Well Wishes I collected, which will be the next post.

I'm a British clinical psychologist with a research background. I manage the Greater Manchester i-THRIVE Arts, Culture and Mental Health Programme, part of the national transformation of children's services. I also have an NHS clinical role in Lancaster and Morecambe working with children, young people and families (CAMHS). I began this blog in 2017 to record a WCMT Travelling Fellowship, from a research role at Arts for Health, Manchester Metropolitan University. I began clinical psychology training (DCLinPsy, Lancaster) in 2010, and studied the role of creativity in bipolar disorder, because of the known links, and partly due to my own experiences of creatively managing extremes of mood in adolescence and throughout my 20s. I have worked in several university psychology research departments including Manchester University in suicide prevention, the Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research at Lancaster University (notable for service user expertise), and on the Dementia & Imagination research programme.

1 comment on “Art Thou Well? Towards creative Devolution of mental health in Greater Manchester

  1. Pingback: Greater Manchester’s Arts and Mental Health Innovation Programme and Your Local Child and Family Services – Art Thou Well

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