The start of the journey
Debs experienced various mental health issues throughout her life and was medically retired, expecting to always need medication, when she was referred to a psychologist within a crisis team. It was here that she saw a leaflet for Creative Minds which changed the course of things to come.
Five and a half years later, Debs is a peer project development and admin support worker for Creative Minds where she uses her insight as a service user to help others find their path to better mental health.
Background to Creative Minds
Creative Minds is a charity that is hosted and supported by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. It was launched in November 2011 in response to patients and carers expressing their desire for taking more creative approaches to understanding and supporting their health and wellbeing.
They run a wide range of projects which are funded jointly by the trust and local partners, and free to service users. Creative Minds puts the options of potential activity out to the people who will actually be using the service to ensure that there is a real desire for the activity to run.
Debs and her experience of Creative Minds
Debs applied and was accepted for an art course developed by Creative Minds in partnership with Artworks. Over the next two years she attended the course, which was free for her to attend. After attending the course, Debs started volunteering for Creative Minds, which helped give her more confidence and greater sense of self-worth.
Where is Debs now?
Debs has now been off medication for four and a half years, and out of mental health services for nearly two years and is a proactive member of the Creative Minds team, sharing her own experiences with others at talks and events across the country.
She recently spoke at The Kings Fund about the impact of social prescribing on people and communities (watch the video in full below).