Words: Simon Paterson
Ian was viewing the art in West Studios when I bumped into him. We started chatting and it was clear I needed to tell his story.
Back in 1997 Ian had a breakdown and suffered with serious mental health issues until events in 2008 lead to him experiencing what he recognised as his wake-up call!
Ian was admitted to the Hartington Wing at the Royal Hospital on the psychiatric ward. At the time they had a day unit which was open to out patients. The day unit had an attached art room which patients were encouraged to use, to express their feelings as an alternative therapy.
Ian was a regular in the art room and his occupational therapist recognised the positive impact it was having on his mental health. He was persuaded to register as a mature student on a two-year access art course with a clear goal of graduating from university.
Following university Ian was involved in various mental health community groups, supporting and mentoring local artists and projects. Through his volunteering he’s found peace, stability and a passion for making a positive difference to the lives of others. He goes forward with a message of hope for those who are suffering, that through connection and expression, you can improve your health and wellbeing and live a full and rewarding life.
Ian now runs his own community movement called Arts and Minds, where anyone is welcome to come along and express themselves through art, music, writing, anything that involves creativity. It’s a support network for people with mental health issues, social isolation, loneliness etc.
Ian is himself a talented artist and has an exhibition at West Studios running from the 8 to 29 March. His art reflects his own personal journey, one of despair, hope, and identity.
Arts & Minds is open Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm at 43 Bridge Street, Killamarsh. They are currently seeking premises to further expand the great work they do into Chesterfield town centre.
If you are able to assist Ian please contact him on 07711 271770.