Creativity and Mental Health,

Conventional wisdom holds that creative activities have a positive effect on mental health, helping people to cope with difficult emotions and feelings, relax when they are stressed, and improve their mood. For many people making art is one of the skills they use to stay mentally and emotionally healthy. With just one week to go of this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, I.ROC wellbeing looks at some examples of creativity and mental health in Penumbra’s services.

Last year people supported by the Angus Nova service were offered two hour-long arts and crafts taster sessions. There was a range of abilities and interests in the class and everyone approached the sessions differently - some people worked by themselves, whilst others worked out ideas together. Some people preferred to take their time, others simply wanted to watch others at work, and the most enthusiastic got stuck straight into the paint, stickers, canvases and papier-mâché!

The group dynamic worked well and the joint enthusiasm spurred everyone on to produce artwork which they took home. Regardless of each individual’s skill level, their piece of art reminded them that they can be creative.The art produced was fascinating. Some people created canvas prints decorated with positive words which they felt would remind them of all the good things they have. Others used decorative pictures to create art which reflected their interests and hobbies. Those who attended said the session was an excellent way to meet new people and try something new. It helped people relax and increased wellbeing too. One supported person said "I was nervous at the start but I really enjoyed it. I have never felt so relaxed in a group before."

Creative writing can also be a tremendous release, whether you are struggling with your mental health or not, and projects such as the SRN’s Write to Recovery provide a platform for people to share their stories and experiences. Here are a couple of poems from people at Penumbra…

Creativity can help people to make sense of their emotions and experiences, an important step on the road to recovery.

Find out more about how I.ROC can support this at


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