New mural brightening up inpatient unit

Posted: 20/10/21

Patients on a Northumberland inpatient unit been getting creative to give their environment a new lease of life.

Service users on Tyne Unit, a mental health and learning disability service at Northgate Hospital in Morpeth, have brightened up the ward by creating a mural in their courtyard.

Part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), nurses from the unit approached the Trust’s Art Hub Service to facilitate a creative project that would create a more welcoming and colourful space.

Service users and staff collaborated on the design and decided on a flora and fauna landscape for the mural.

Over the course of three months, the group met every Monday with paints, palettes and pictures for inspiration to develop the artwork.

Eric Rothwell, artist within the Trust’s Art Hub, said: “We were so fortunate in getting good weather each week which helped the project’s progress. The development of the mural could be seen through the windows and corridors which was a source of conversation for everyone.

“The courtyard now looks much brighter and we are confident that it will have a positive impact on the wellbeing of the people who see it. The project supported service users in gaining experience in different art approaches and served as an opportunity to communicate, express, and develop skills, and learn new ones.

“Art helps encourage a sense of achievement and social inclusion for service users, as well as a focus for recovery.”

A number of staff from different disciplines helped in the project including nursing assistants, sports staff, occupational therapists and students.

Tyne Unit delivers two separate services, a rehabilitation service for men with a learning disability and other complex needs and a service for men who present with mental health conditions who either have offended or displayed offending type behaviour. Both services provide treatment that is focused on recovery.

The Art Hub works with mental health service users with learning disabilities. They participate in a range of activities from drawing and painting to sculpture, animation, creative writing and music. Service user artwork has been on display in hospitals and galleries across the region and at exhibitions at Woodhorn Museum, BALTIC, Gateshead Library Gallery and London’s South Bank Centre.