Generating mutual recovery in creative spaces.
Wheeler, A.J., Roennfeldt, H., Slattery, M., Krinks, R., Stewart, V.
Purpose: Participation in creative activities have been linked with increased personal agency. The purpose of this paper is to address critical considerations in the development of community-based creative workshops for people experiencing severe and persistent mental illness and explores participant experiences of these workshops.
Design/methodology/approach: The workshops aimed to build the skills and capacities of participants and provide alternative ways to communicate identity and recovery stories. They were designed to provide a range of creative opportunities for participants (visual arts, writing, dance and music) and were facilitated by practising artists. In total, 11 participants attended ten creative workshops over three months. On completion, a focus group was conducted to gather participant views, experiences and outcomes of the workshops.
Findings: The creative workshops supported the recovery of participants. The inclusion of peer mentors in the workshops was an important in facilitating connectedness.
Originality/value: This study advances the evidence that creative arts can support the psychological and social aspects of participants’ recovery journeys. Creative activities can promote positive self-identity and reduce self-stigma for people experiencing mental illness. It highlights the importance of using evidence in the design of creative workshops and supports the use of peer mentoring in group creative processes.