Making It is the Three Rivers District Council’s dedicated Arts on Prescription programme for people living with mental health issues and poor wellbeing. On a 12 week programme, participants work with a professional, experienced artist and a counsellor, to explore a wide variety of creative processes. The result is an exhibition of work for public display and a whole range of other positive outcomes for wellbeing. The project is currently based around Mindfulness and Creativity and it aims to promote relaxation and having something positive to look forward to. It also helps people feel valued and less isolated and it boosts confidence and esteem.
Making It provides a friendly and supported learning environment which enables participants to find their way, strive and feel confident enough to join other creative groups in the future. It provides structure in the weekly routine, and there are boundaries in the sessions and the understanding that everyone in the room has something that they are dealing with. It’s a non-judgemental space where people encourage each other and consider vulnerabilities, with a Counsellor on hand to listen. This is not something a mainstream art group can always provide and Making It fills a gap in the market.
Making It has strong and active partnerships with various referral routes. Herts Mind Network, Herts Help and NHS Foundation Trusts refer their clients to the project, as well as social workers and Community Learning Disability Teams. There are also excellent relationships with local Community Navigators – ‘link workers’ who work at a ground level to connect people with help/advice. Advertising self-referral has also increased uptake rate with more GPs becoming aware of the project owing to their patients presenting a form to complete for them.
Photo credit: Elaine Johnson