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J Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2012 Jun;19(5):402-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2011.01811.x. Epub 2011 Sep 20.

Arts In-Reach: taking 'bricks off shoulders' in adult mental health inpatient care.

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  • 1School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.


This article reports upon a research study focusing on a programme of work called Arts In-Reach. The programme was designed to provide a participatory arts programme for the adult mental health inpatient wards in a city in the UK. The aim of the research study was to explore the experiences of people who have engaged with the Arts In-Reach programme of work. Eleven qualitative interviews were conducted among participants of the programme. Consistent with other research, this study reveals how people on the wards often feel powerless and bored. The feelings of boredom are exacerbated as people recover. Participating in the arts groups has alleviated some of those feelings. Furthermore, participation has also increased people's social interactions and given opportunity for self-expression. The arts activities also provide a distraction for people and some appreciated being able to talk about matters other than their 'illness'. The arts activities helped people to think about their future and how they might take their artwork forward. For some people, thinking about the future helped with restoring a sense of hope, a quality imperative for recovery.

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