Art Branches was set up in 2015 to improve health and wellbeing through creative projects linked to the environment. It was a direct response to the ongoing rise in mental health issues coupled with a greater understanding of the therapeutic value of engaging with, and creatively reflecting on, the natural and built world. The processes leading to creative output can help to develop a sense of competency, relatedness (feeling connected to others) and autonomy (feeling in control). These are key factors in promoting motivation and wellbeing, and hence mental health recovery. During Covid-19 Art Branches agile and responsive nature ensured rapid responses to rise in mental health issues as early as March, aided by community support funding from Suffolk Community Foundation.
This wonderful organisation works by deepening peoples’ connections with key places across the county, allowing people to widen their experiences and ways of looking at the world in a supportive and creative setting. Recent funding from Suffolk Community Foundation has allowed one of the organisation’s graduate intern artists to run his first project ‘Expressing Trees’. Ryan’s project is three fold, firstly resource packs sent to 80 people, online support over 3 months and 4 outdoor workshops expressing trees. Adults recovering from mental health issue shave helped create the resources, making them more accessible and relevant to the intended recipient.
Art Branches has saved my life. During lockdown I hit an all-time low. Art Branches gave me focus and encouraged me to be creative. It opened my eyes to actually see what is around me.
The funding we have received from Suffolk Community Foundation has been transformational for ArtBranches to enable them to reach out to sport new areas of adult carers and adults recovering from mental health issues from a wider geographical area.