Art gets to the heart of the matter

Shirebrook Art Project learniong about healthy hearts. Sheila Platt, healthy Lives Bolsover project Coordinator, NHS Derbyshire County, Emma Warriner, Services Manager 'Advance Support', Notts & Derbys, Service user Steven Bailey who created the art, and Andrea Grealy independant Art Therapist.
Shirebrook Art Project learniong about healthy hearts. Sheila Platt, healthy Lives Bolsover project Coordinator, NHS Derbyshire County, Emma Warriner, Services Manager 'Advance Support', Notts & Derbys, Service user Steven Bailey who created the art, and Andrea Grealy independant Art Therapist.
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ARTWORK inspiring people experiencing mental health problems to look after their heart have been unveiled at a Hearty Lives Healthy Hearts event to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

Four brightly coloured pieces – created by people who’ve personally experienced a mental health problem – aim to help others think more carefully about keeping their hearts healthy.

They were first showcased at a Hearty Lives Healthy Hearts event organised by NHS Derbyshire and Advance Housing and Support Limited in Shirebrook.

The pieces, created with the help of a local Belper artist, draw on the themes and discussions presented at an ‘Art for the Heart Day’ organised by NHS Derbyshire. The project forms part of the British Heart Foundation’s £10 million Hearty Lives programme – which aims to reduce high levels of heart disease in key geographical areas.

One image shows a collection of different heart images with sunbeams and rainbows while another shows a four-piece red jigsaw heart with one healthy piece falling out of the jigsaw with the words ‘Take Action for a Healthy Heart’.

Sheila Platt, Hearty Lives Bolsover Project Coordinator for NHS Derbyshire, said: “People who experience a severe mental health problem can be at a higher risk of developing heart disease. At the Art for the Heart day we talked about the heart as an organ and gave examples of how powerful it is – for example if you laid out every blood vessel in the body from end to end it would stretch 97,000 kilometres, which is quite an amazing fact.

“Those that took part really immersed themselves in the themes of the day and it was fantastic to see how they worked with the artist to translate these into high quality pieces.”

Recent medical research shows that people with a severe mental health problem can lose a staggering 10 to 15 years of life due to a combination of factors including poor diet, infrequent exercise, smoking and long-term anti-psychotic drug use.

“We also talked about simple things people can do to help maintain a healthy heart: stretching while watching the TV, eating brown bread instead of white, walking to the shops, and remembering housework and gardening count as exercise,” Mrs Platt added.

In total seven people took part in the project, with four of the paintings going on display at the Hearty Lives Healthy Hearts event. All were supported by art therapist, Andrea Grealy, from Belper, who helped people involved further develop their artistic interpretation of a healthy heart and mount work for display purposes.

Many hadn’t picked up art materials since school.

Bolsover is one of a number of regions across the UK taking part in the British Heart Foundation’s Hearty Lives programme. The Hearty Lives Bolsover initiative is the only one in the country for people with severe mental health problems, and is being run by NHS Derbyshire in conjunction with Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Advance Housing and Support Limited in Shirebrook provide housing, support and employment services for people with mental health problems.

World Mental Health Day took place on Monday, October 10.

For more information about the British Heart Foundation’s Hearty Lives project go to http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/how-we-help/in-your-area/hearty-lives.aspx.