Artwork is inspiring young people in mental health recovery | News and events

Artwork is inspiring young people in mental health recovery

New artwork installed at a Norwich city centre mental health centre is inspiring young people and reminding them of ‘happy times’.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) received the large new canvasses at its 80 St Stephen’s building at the end of last month from artist Cerys Wise, who was commissioned to create artwork after the young people’s service received Captain Tom funding in 2021.

And service users and carers have said the installation, in the reception area, has made them want to paint and reminds them of happy times in Norwich.

People Participation Lead Lucy North said: “When we received the funding, 80 St Stephen’s had recently undergone a refurbishment, which meant the previous artwork was removed, leaving a blank canvas. We had received feedback from both young people and staff that the waiting area and treatment rooms felt very clinical and not particularly inviting or friendly.

“We collectively decided that we would use the money we received to work on decorating the waiting area and to have pieces of art created.”

The team connected with Norwich University of the Arts and advertised for an artist, requesting a covering letter and portfolio. “We shared the portfolios received with lots of young people; in the waiting room, in one-to-one meetings and in our participation group, and also emailed participants who had chosen this as their preferred method of communication,” said Lucy.

The young people unanimously voted for Cerys. Lucy said: “They talked about how calming her artwork was, and that having a nature theme that was related to Norwich would feel mature enough for a youth service, but also warm and welcoming.”

Cerys created three pieces for the building, two smaller posters and a large mural. Young people chose the quotes that are included on all three pieces.

She completed the work while finishing her degree and graduating, moving house, starting a new job. “She’s been brilliant and it’s so great to see her work finally in place for everyone to see,” said Lucy.

Cerys said she was honoured to have been chosen to make the artwork and it was bittersweet seeing them go. “Having just graduated it was a huge step for me to put myself out there, and to then be chosen by the team was amazing. To have my work bring a smile to people’s faces in a place where they need it most is a huge privilege. 

“I wanted this piece to incorporate my love for nature and my love for Norwich. I wanted it to be beautiful and calming, whilst reflecting the city’s landscape.”

She believes art is important for mental health. “Taking the time to sit and look at artwork in person is a hugely calming experience for me. It’s such a source of inspiration and can give you a real sense of peace if you find the right type for you. I hope my paintings make this experience more accessible.”

Cath Byford, Deputy CEO and Chief People Officer at NSFT, said: “What amazing pieces of art and how great that they are giving a better welcome for everyone coming into 80 St Stephen’s. Art can play a big role in recovery, whether that is being inspired to create something of your own or just being able to view an inspiring painting or sculpture.”


Mural on stairway with text that reads "There is good in this world because you are here"

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