June 22, 2024

South West News

South West News from Gloucestershire to Cornwall

Calming Mural Unveiled at London Hospital

A clinical space in a London mental health hospital has been transformed into a vibrant, colourful one thanks to the creativity of its patients.

Service users at Cygnet Hospital Blackheath, on Blackheath Hill, have come together to design and create a stunning new mural which has added vibrancy to a clinical room within the hospital. The mural features a large blossom tree and sunshine, creating a calming effect for those being cared for at the Cygnet Health Care-run service.

The mural, which took several weeks to complete, has transformed the communal area of Tyler Ward, the 14-bed Male Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Working with the Occupational Therapy team and art therapist at the hospital, the service users were involved during every stage of the process.

The project was organised into two stages, beginning with planning sessions and followed by painting sessions. Service users were given an outline template of the wall and encouraged to create their own designs and to share ideas. Elements from each person’s design were then incorporated to form the collaborative artwork.

One of the service users helped mark the design on the wall with a pencil, and over the following weeks, others gradually contributed to the mural with support from staff.

Art Psychotherapist, Sophie Cachia, explained: “Collaborating on the mural and engaging the service users has encouraged teamwork and reduced feelings of isolation. The shared experience also helped to boost self-esteem, offering the participants a sense of accomplishment and pride as everyone contributed to the mural’s creation.

“Some service users preferred not to paint, but they actively participated by providing feedback and suggestions as the mural took shape.

“This inclusive approach allowed everyone to have a role in the project, whether through painting or offering creative input, fostering a sense of community and ownership over the final artwork.”

Dr Victoria Mee, Lead Clinical and Forensic Psychologist at Cygnet Hospital Blackheath, said feedback from service users is that the room is more ‘welcoming’ now.

She said: “Throughout the project, service users reported feeling a sense of relaxation while engaging with the art materials, alongside a sense of empowerment from leaving their mark on the walls.

“The project allowed service users to express themselves through a shared creative experience, and collaborate with staff and peers which fostered a positive environment for interaction. This environment also enabled non-verbal communication through sharing art materials and making room for others to participate, promoting a sense of community and inclusivity.

“This aesthetic transformation has positively impacted both service users and staff, contributing to a more conducive therapeutic environment.

“The goal wasn’t just to improve the well-being of current service users, but also to create a calm space for future service users too.”