Citywide arts programme promotes positive mental health
A new citywide arts initiative in Derry-Londonderry is helping to promote positive mental health and wellbeing among young people.
Feel Good @ One Stop Shop is a project created by Dove House Community Trust which is helping to raise awareness of mental health issues, and the stigma and barriers associated with seeking support, by providing young people with innovative ways to express themselves through the arts.
The project is one of 15 to have received funding in January as part of ARTiculate, a new £600,000 programme arts young people and wellbeing arts funding programme set up by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funds and Public Health Agency (PHA) to give a voice to the issues affecting young people. The programme will be rolled out over three years to support arts projects across Northern Ireland.
Clare Maguire, Coordinator of Youth Services at Dove House Community Trust: “We were delighted to receive funding from the ARTiculate programme back in January. As a result, we are now running drop-in guitar, keyboard, DJing and drumming lessons. We also have song and rap writing lessons and open mic events. As part of the outreach element of the programme, we will be running a series of graffiti projects and dance workshops throughout the year and across the city.
“The classes and outreach work offer an opportunity for the young people who come along to speak out about mental health and what it means to them, as well as providing a route for accessing information and support.”
Lorraine Calderwood, ARTiculate Programme Manager, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:
“The positive links between engagement in the arts and wellbeing are firmly established. Working together with the Public Health Agency, we are supporting a diverse range of projects that open up opportunities for young people to engage in the arts and the many benefits that brings, such as promoting self-expression, and developing self-confidence and self-motivation.
“Feel Good @ The One Stop Shop is a fantastic example of a project that is helping young people to come together and learn new creative and communicative skills to articulate their story.”
Brendan Bonner, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement (Western) with PHA, said:
“This programme is a great example of how using arts in an innovative way can be used to give a voice to young people and encouraging help-seeking behaviour. The PHA recognise the positive impact that the arts can play in improving the mental health and wellbeing of our young people. The young people involved benefit in a number of ways such as making new friends, learning new skills, gaining confidence in their abilities. They also learn about the mental health support that is available.”
The first 15 organisations to be awarded funding through the ARTiculate programme were announced in January. The programme will run over three years and it is anticipated that approximately 35 projects will benefit from funding. The programme is delivered by artists and arts organisations working in partnership with youth and community organisations linked to the PHA across a range of health improvement themes.