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Pioneering art project to help mental health patients in A&E

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An award-winning new room to support people with mental health conditions in accident and emergency has opened at a London hospital.

It is first mental health room in an A&E department to have artwork created by users in partnership with NHS staff.

“The room has gone from a dreary, clinical area to a calm, peaceful and comforting place”

Rikke Albert

The room at the Royal London Hospital has been revamped with a mural known as the Hope Wall, which includes inspirational words and messages chosen by service users.

NHS staff worked with artist Mike Miles and service users to turn what was previously a “dreary, clinical” space into a place of calm and safety.

Vital Arts, the charitably funded arts organisation for Barts Health NHS Trust, worked with East London NHS Foundation Trust and Tower Hamlets Working Together Group to commission Mr Miles.

The artist met with service users over a number of sessions to discover the individual needs of people with mental health issues.

The room was opened this week by Barts chief executive Alwen Williams and Dr Navina Evans, chief executive of East London NHS Foundation Trust.

Jane, a service user, who helped to choose the colours and some of the words, said: “I think it will make a difference to people.

Barts Health NHS Trust

Hope Wall

Hope Wall service users, with Jane at the front

“When you are in a state of anxiety and desolation, having something to focus your mind on which is inspiring and uplifting will help to feel like things will get better,” she said.

Rikke Albert, a nurse consultant at East London, said: “Our Hope Wall project acknowledges the vital role that environment plays when supporting people in mental distress.

“Service users were involved in the project from the beginning and were a driving force behind its design and messages,” she said.

She highlighted that the work showed the impact that can be made when physical and mental health organisations work together.

“The room has gone from a dreary, clinical area to a calm, peaceful and comforting place,” she said.

“We hope the transformation shows the importance we place on supporting those struggling with their mental health,” she added.

The project won the East London NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive 2017 Award and was shortlisted for its People’s Participation Ward 2017.

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