Art can be food for the soul

Sometimes we all need a little support, have something to say or wish to express how we feel but find talking and saying things out loud hard to do. Writing things down, drawing or a form of creative activity can often help. 

Many of us suffer with worries, isolation, uncertainty, loneliness, boredom, frustration and sadness. The pandemic has intensified these issues.

To help those in need express themselves, the Chalk About It event was set up in Wokingham Market Place on Sunday 26th September which offered the opportunity to express feelings, hopes and desires in a relaxed and friendly environment.  

Professional pavement artists Urban Canvas were invited to lead this ‘live’ art-based event.   Their project “Hive Minds” created a large piece of floor art linking into Mental Health and Well-Being,  providing participants with the opportunity to express their own feelings and thoughts within the design and offering space for them to focus and be creative. 

Quote from artists: “Art in a public place has the ability to slow down time and allow you to lose yourself in the moment. It’s a distraction from negative thoughts and food for the soul. Art can free you in some respects, allowing people to mix socially if they wish and take part in something bigger than yourself. “

This year’s event was intentionally targeted to our more at risk groups, but may be widened in future.

Artists, health professionals and helpers were present on the day to chat and work with anyone who sought interaction.

Quote:
“We know that many of our residents are dealing with a magnitude of thoughts and feelings that often feel difficult to overcome. We acknowledge that not everyone wants to talk so wanted to bring a creative activity into the town to try and help people express themselves.

We thank everyone involved for coming together, chalk in hand, to create a really meaningful piece of artwork.”

For anyone needing a little extra help, here are some options for local and national support services.

www.samaritans.org for confidential freephone, email and app support and resources
Phone 116 123 email jo@samaritans.org

www.thecalmzone.net Campaign Against Living Miserably for support, resources and events
Phone 0800 58 58 58 or webchat

www.mind.org.uk for resources and signposting to services to help you the most.
Main number 0300 123 3393
local service www.oxfordshiremind.org.uk/wellbeing/primary-care/

Prefer to text not call? Contact Shout www.giveusashout.org or Text shout to 85258

www.kooth.com is an online wellbeing community.

Locally

www.facebook.com/FriendshipAllianceWokingham – promoting friendship and reducing the impact of loneliness and isolation.

www.depressionxpression.org.uk – The local Mental Health peer support group.

talkingtherapies.berkshirehealthcare.nhs.uk – Talking Therapies is a free friendly and approachable NHS service that offers support if you’re coping with challenges like depression, stress, anxiety or phobias. Available to adults aged 17 and older, registered with a GP in Berkshire. You can refer yourself or your GP can refer you. Phone 0300 365 2000

https://arcweb.org.uk/ ARC is an organisation that offers a confidential counselling service.

https://www.sportinmind.org/ Sport in Mind is an independent multi-award winning mental health charity that was formed in Reading “To improve the lives of people experiencing mental health problems through sport and physical activity”

https://www.cranstoun.org/ offers a wide range of services across England, including community-based substance misuse services, supported housing, specialist services for young people, families, carers, and domestic abuse services.