A recent Leeds art exhibition at Inkwell Community Arts has become a success with praise from artists and art-goers alike.
‘14/1 (Fourteen to One)’, aims to showcase creations made by artists who suffer with mental health issues.
With a reported 1 in 6 people suffering with mental health problems a week in the UK, Inkwell offers a safe space for sufferers to work with like-minded people in a relaxed environment.
Aspiring artist Craig Hollingsworth, 26, plagued by depression for the past four years was visiting Inkwell for the first time. He said:
“When I’m painting it’s the most relaxed I feel…there’s no anxiety because I’m just concentrating on what I’m doing.
“I’ve only just heard about Inkwell from a friend…it’s less lonely to know there are people who struggle with similar stuff that I do and can still be creative.”
Registered charity Leeds Mind, who provide support to mental health sufferers, funded the project and said they are ‘immensely proud’ of the art on display in the exhibition.
Inkwell regular Karl Whiting, who has suffered from mental health issues since his teens, spoke of his time with Inkwell on their blog:
“If I wasn’t coming down to Inkwell, I’d be sat at home vegetating and my mental state would decline.
“You come down here, as a volunteer or participant in the classes, and you’re around people – they might not have the same issues as you but they have understanding, so you feel included. I’d highly recommend it.”
“I’ll always keep creating – it doesn’t bring me money but it brings me a bit of clarity.”
National service Improving Access to Psychological Services (IAPT) say their research shows talking therapy like Inkwell’s social programs are more likely to help sufferers recover from mild to moderate mental health problems.
They say this kind of therapy is much more beneficial than prescription drugs which can be detrimental to the sufferer’s recovery period.
14/1 is part of Inkwell’s mentorship program where participants work with established artists. One artist said of the program:
“I found it informal enough to be reassuring and sensitive to my mental health needs, but with a dedication and seriousness that inspired me and sparked the confidence that I was being seen as a worthwhile cause.”
14/1 is free to view and will run until April 22.