The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October every year. This year's theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is 'Mental Health in an Unequal World'.

According to research collected by Art Fund, 40% of adults feel anxious at least some of the time. Nationally, in England, an NHS model predicts that up to 10 million people (almost 20% of the population) will need either new or additional mental health support as a direct consequence of the Covid-19 crisis. 1.5 million of those will be children and young people under 18. Over two-thirds (67%) of survey respondents agree that taking time out for themselves and pursuing a leisure activity is good for personal wellbeing. The report suggests that there is potential for visiting museums and galleries to play a bigger role in helping individuals to cope with stress and anxiety.

We have always put art and community at the heart of everything we do, which is why our Art and Wellbeing initiative has been crucial towards opening up a conversation around the physical and emotional wellbeing of our visitors. Not only have we been working on accessibility materialsfree learning resources, and creative sessions for adults; our Learning team has also spent a significant amount of time researching and designing activities for families and children and, more recently, digital resources that you can use at home.

Adult Workshop © The Lightbox

recent study from University College London around children's engagement in the arts has found that taking part in creative sessions can boost a young person's self-esteem, regardless of their ability or inclination for artistic expression. The research also found that 'the arts have been shown to support a sense of social identity and can 'encourage goal-directed behaviour, and enhance social resilience'. Our Art and Wellbeing programme provides opportunities for those that would otherwise not be able to access and enjoy arts and heritage services to take part in creative and therapeutic workshops.

These workshops include:

Drawing for Adults - Drawing can manage behaviors, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem. Creating art can help you learn something new and acknowledge feelings that have been lurking in your subconscious.

Drop-in Creative Sessions for Families - Our drop-in sessions are a great opportunity to have a quality bonding experience with your family, a chance to meet other parents or carers, and a free way to get out of the house and do something educational. 
Children can gain confidence in expressing themselves through the medium of art. Being able to channel thoughts and feelings into their artwork will, in turn, help them feel more confident in communicating how they are feeling. It can build self-esteem, a sense of achievement, and pride. 

Storytelling for Under 5's - Reading and telling stories to children can increase their ability to express themselves. It is an excellent way to sharpen their memory, it promotes brain development and imagination, develops language and emotions and it helps increase a child’s focus and concentration which are very important as they begin attending school.

Art in Mind
- Studies show that there are benefits of art therapy for people living with dementia, these benefits are increased brain stimulation, improved memory, a sense of achievement, boosts physical strength, enhances mood, and general wellbeing, and allows individuals to express their creativity. Our Art in Mind workshops not only benefit people living with dementia but can hugely benefit their carers too. 

Open Mind - Open Mind is a partnership between The Lightbox and Mind Woking to provide relaxed monthly tours of current exhibitions. Studies show that looking at art can reduce your cortisol, making you feel less stressed, and can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Open Mind builds self-esteem and confidence, improves social skills, and can reduce feelings of isolation.

David Hockney Exhibition © The Lightbox

Our galleries offer a much-needed space where you can reset after work, have a wander around and enjoy a relaxing experience. Better yet, research shows that engaging in cultural activities can positively impact one’s happiness. Repeat visitors seem to gain a greater sense of satisfaction in their lives than those who have never visited a gallery or museum because their immersion in a creative environment helps them take a break – or a step back – from their day-to-day routines.

We’re always mindful of the fact that everyone is different and we try to respond as best we can to the needs of our visitors. That’s why, in addition to our focus on providing equal access to our services, we welcome all that want to be more actively involved in our ever-growing community. There is an ongoing opportunity to join our fantastic team of volunteers by fulfilling a wide range of roles including greeting our visitors, supervising exhibitions, and lending a hand at special events.

You can book any of the workshops mentioned above by clicking here. 

Support your mental health: