Project overview

The World Health Organization called for mental health to be treated as everyone’s responsibility. It does not only affect the lives of people living with mental health problems, and their carers, but also the productivity of society. In many countries, mental illness is the leading cause of disability, responsible for 30-40% of chronic sick leave and costing some 3% of GDP. More common than diabetes, cancer or heart disease, mental illnesses fill up to 21% of all hospital beds at any given time.

The need for effective approaches to treating people with severe mental illness is often a matter of life or death. 1 in 10 people diagnosed with schizophrenia and 1 in 5 with bipolar illness will end in suicide. People suffering from mental illness and especially those who live in mental health structures are in the forefront of socially disadvantaged groups, suffering more over from social stigmatization and marginalization. These people have also been suffering from societal injustices.

Although art’s healing effect on mental health is being acknowledged more and more, it is not an optional therapeutic approach for most of mental health structures in many European Countries. Moreover, even though, there is an obvious need of more contemporary approaches hich will possibly reduce the use of medicines, most of the structures are being stuck to old protocols avoiding trying alternative methodological approaches and routines, as a result of ignorance or being afraid to try something new. The potential and benefits of combining therapeutic art with restorative justice are still not translated into educational material and programs leaving many adult learners and professionals in the field unaware.

Mental Health Matters through Restorative Art (MHM) aims to bring together a cross-sector, strategic partnership of organisations to support innovation in the adult education field by creating, piloting and disseminating educational material and tools tailored to the needs and realities of mental health professionals, restorative justice practitioners and artists in the participating countries (the UK, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Hungary) and across Europe. MHM will also design and accredit e-courses that will enhance the skills and knowledge of adult learners, supporting in this way the setting up of, and access to upskilling pathways.


Enhance the skills, knowledge and experience of mental health professionals using art and restorative justice values

Train artists to use art in order to facilitate the relief of mentally ill and their social restoration.

Create innovative tools that enhance the healthcare provision and self representation of those who live within mental health structures based on a methodological approach which puts together the benefits of the art therapy with the values of restorative justice.

Design and accredit e-courses that will enhance the skills and knowledge of adult learners, supporting in this way the setting up of, and access to upskilling pathways.


ΙΟ1:Training Manual: The use of restorative art in mental health structures

The first Intellectual Output will feature in the form of an e-book that will act as a Training Manual on the use of restorative art in mental health structure. The manual will be based on a transnational study in which all partners will be actively involved and will be reflecting the use of art in mental health structures among the participating countries as well as certain ways in which art is being exploited in these structures. It will be also based on a needs analysis through original fieldwork which will be contacted with professionals in partner countries using quantitative data collection methods.

ΙΟ2: Training programme: Restorative art in mental health structures

The training programme which will also have the form of an e-course that will be addressed to mental health professionals, mental health structures’ coordinators, mental health carers and other health care practitioners.

The main aim of this programme is to train the target group on creative art therapeutic approaches and the many expressions that these approaches might take within mental health structures for the benefit of the people suffering mental illness. Another very important aim is to introduce mental health professionals to the values of restorative justice and give them a methodological approach that combines the therapeutic form of art with the restorative values and the power of art as a means of restoring injustice. This methodological approach will lead to a healing, but also a self -representation process for the people living in mental health structures.

IO3: Training programme: Art as a relief and a restorative tool for people living in Mental Health Structures

This IO will feature in the form of a training programme transformed into an accredited e-course and piloted in the participating countries. It will be addressed to artists that are interested in contributing with their art to relieving people facing mental illness. More specifically this programme is going to help the participants and especially emerging artists to discover the transformative power that their art might have in the lives of people suffering mental illness as their art might be the tool of healing and self-representation as well. At the same time this guide will also lead the artists to new professional prospects which give their art an added value through the social impact of helping one of the most socially vulnerable group of people regain its “voice”.

IO4: Mental Health Matters in Action: E-book

The Mental Health Matters e-book will be the ultimate pride and concluding IO of the project. This Output will bring together all the research, pilots, learning and findings of the project into one e-book that will feature chapters in the participating languages as well as a comparative chapter in English. This e-book will be the first in the area, paving the way for Europe.

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