Staff in wards in North Devon have been successful in obtaining £10K from the Big Lottery Fund to set up a range of participatory and creative activities for patients at weekends.
These are particularly needed in acute mental health settings where weekends can be especially difficult and challenging for patients and the reduction in stimulation and diversion can compound depression and other symptoms leading to possible self-harm or violence.
Jody Lapinskas, Ward Manager on Ocean View who submitted the bid together with Laura Barrie said: "We were delighted to hear from the Big Lottery Fund that our bid had been successful. We very much hope that it will be an opportunity for people to engage in an exciting, motivational and innovative experience.
"Through the use of a local community arts group, Wolf + Water Arts Company, with whom we have collaborated on projects on various occasions over the last 20 years, the Mind Your Head project will offer a regular 'menu' of activities that patients can get involved in – either in a group, or one to one setting – including activities such as visual arts, digital media, dance and movement, creative writing and music opportunities.
"The benefits of bringing in an external provider is that Wolf and Water can offer a range of activities and skills that compliment and extend beyond the capacities of our current occupational therapy and nursing team.
"In a previous project Wolf + Water made extensive use of video which was very positive on a number of levels – in allowing people to 'see themselves back' and in terms of their achievements being recognised, as well as it also proving to be a useful resource for new patients who were able to see what was happening on the ward, what activities were available, and get a sense of who was who amongst the staff.
"We will also encourage family and friends visiting the wards to become involved – providing the opportunity for them to maintain, develop or renew relationships in a creatively constructive environment."
The four local Link Centres in North Devon, drop-in centres for people recovering from mental health issues, will also be made aware of the project so that people can be encouraged to be involved even after discharge.
The project will start in early May with a report on the impact that it has had on the wards being produced later in the year.