Over 80 people gathered at Fieldhead, Wakefield this week to join in the South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust’s International Women’s Day celebrations.
The day included a moving drama performance by AIM (Artists in Mind) which reflected the life of Wakefield artist Pauline Quinnin. Pauline has suffered from mental health problems all her life and turned to art and creativity as a way of coping. She has exhibited her work many times and recently had a book published containing her art work.
The play is based on extracts from Pauline’s diary and was performed by Huddersfield actress Taru Sinclair and musician Chrissie Lockwood. Pauline finished the performance by painting a picture in front of everyone, which she has donated to Gaskell Ward, a women’s unit at the Yorkshire Centre for Forensic Psychiatry (based at Fieldhead)
Afterwards a range of speakers spoke about the theme of the day – ‘women and mental health’ covering topics such as domestic violence, women and self harm, women in prison and working with women who have suffered trauma and abuse.
Tricia Murrain a clinical nurse specialist who helped to organise the event said, "We wanted to do something to mark International Women’s Day, as the ward I work on Gaskell is a women’s service. The idea behind the day was to share information and increase awareness of issues such as the links between abuse and mental illness. We also hoped to reduce some of the labels and stigma surrounding these issues, and celebrate the positive work that is being done in women’s services.
"The play about Pauline’s life was very hard-hitting and thought provoking. It renders you speechless," she said.