As part of a 600-mile mission to raise awareness about mental health issues campaigner Tony Russell visited services across the region provided by the Trust.
Tony, who is the founder of Breakthrough Art which promotes positive mental health through the creative arts, set out to highlight mental health and celebrate the value of the creative arts as an aid to recovery by walking between NHS mental health trusts from London to Newcastle.
The challenge has taken him about two months to complete and saw him stopping at a number of services including Enfield Down in Honley, Pathways Day Service in Mirfield, Ward 18 at Dewsbury and District Hospital and Fieldhead hospital, Wakefield.
The services visited by Tony en route all provide care to people who have mental health problems. Tony joined staff and people who use the services to view a showcase of work created by service users helping to demonstrate how creativity is already being used successfully across the Trust.
Creative approaches can achieve high quality outcomes for people who use Trust services and there are many inspiring examples of innovative creative work going on across the Trust – from drama and photography to football and gardening. By using creative approaches, the importance of engagement and involvement is highlighted and barriers between staff and services users can be broken down, levelling relationships.
Creative activity underpins the search for different ways of doing things and different ways of thinking. The arts and sport can bring people together and build a sense of community and as a result creativity is embedded in the care and treatment of many Trust services, producing fantastic results for individuals who suffer from mental health problems.
Tony has used the publicity from his nationwide walk to raise money for mental health charities and to raise awareness of the value art has in aiding recovery and enhancing the healing environment in mental health care.
The Trust’s chief executive Steven Michael said, "I was pleased to be able to welcome Tony to the trust as he walked the length of the country to highlight mental health. This really was an epic challenge and a hugely inspirational way of highlighting the issues surrounding mental health. There is still stigma attached to mental health, but events like this help increase understanding."
Speaking about his walk Tony, said: "I suffered from depression in the 90s and I needed to find ways to cope. One thing which really helped was walking and I have since set up Breakthrough, a charity which raises awareness of mental health and is pro active in lobbying MPs to challenge the funding for mental health services."
Tony also found time between walking more than 15 miles a day to drop by the Hoot charity base in Huddersfield, where he gave a talk to a packed audience about his experiences.
To sponsor Tony in his mission go to www.breakthroughmhart.com/walk-in-my-shoes/