As part of his mission to raise awareness about mental health issues campaigner Tony Russell is visiting services across the region provided by the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Tony, who is the founder of Breakthrough Art which promotes positive mental health through the creative arts, has 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 will take him about two months and will see him walking more than 800 miles and stopping at a number of locations including Pathways Day Service in Mirfield and Ward 18 at Dewsbury and District Hospital.
Both services provide care to people who have mental health problems and Tony will join staff and people who use the services on Wednesday 11th May where a showcase of work created by service users will be presented.
Having walked from Pathways to ward 18, Tony will spend the afternoon with ward staff and see creative workshops held by the activity coordinators 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 will be using 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 am pleased to be able to welcome Tony to the trust as he walks the length of the country to highlight mental health. This really is 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. From Fieldhead Tony will continue his walk to Darlington and the whole Trust would like to wish him well on his onward journey."