Mile End hosts creative mental health event

Pic. Duygu Saykan

A ‘Creativity in Mental Health’ event involving Tower Hamlets Council and a wide range of east London charities was held in Mile End yesterday.

The event was organised by Community Options, a support, advice and recovery service for mental health patients, and took place in the Mile End Ecology Pavilion.

Under the motto ‘Your Say, Your Day’, the day got under way with a dance and music workshop followed by songs by the Harmony Choir. In the afternoon, east London charity organisations including Family Action, Empower Youth, Studio Upstairs, Sam Shakes, Squeaky Gate and Social Action for Health presented their services for people sufering from mental health issues.

Food and drink was provided as mental health patients got involved in a variety of art and music therapy workshops. Attendants also were given the opportunity to perform a piece of music. The Council’s mental health workers were present to answer questions from patients.

Community Options keep a database of all Tower Hamlets mental health patients who have been discharged, aims to maintain contact with them and provide weekday activities.

Jeff Parkinson, 54, who ran a workshop on Chinese Art said: “I run a variety of art work shops and I usually work with people in their 70’s or 80’s and try and get them enthusiastic about art. I have been doing this for about 15 years, providing art workshops for mental health patients.”

Shirin Mustafa from Community Options said: “We are working on the Involvement Project, which aims to stimulate a positive dialogue between commisioners, service providers and service users. This team is about stimulating patients’ creativity, and we cover drugs and alcohol abuse, personal development and relationships – all of the areas that affect a person’s mental health.”

Simon Guntan from Squeaky Gate spoke after seeing a thirty minute concert given by patients in the event: “The majority of the people who performed today are our patients. The lyrics of the songs are written by them entirely based on the things that matter to them. The song we just heard was about homelessness. It was  hard work getting them to perform, as you could see some are still shy while singing. But it is a great achievement. Since they are homeless, they want to keep eveything they have got, including their artistic talents. We encourage them to work together, to encourage each other, there is real team spirit. It takes time but when they took to the stage they showed us real rewarding results.”

The Creativity in Mental Health event takes place every three to four months. The next event will take a place on Thursday May 3.


The lyrics to the song performed by mental health patients yesterday are as follows:



Sitting here in this dirt Street

Just watching people walk on by

Looking at their faces

Makes me feel like I wanna cry

Knowing their going back to

A place they know so well

Everything is kind od rosy

Everything is kind of swell

(Colin Rapth, 2010)

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