Benefits of Art and Creativity on Mental Health in the Community at Together Reading Services

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 Together's services in Reading held events across the area to showcase the work of their services considering the benefits of art and creativity on mental health.

Benefits of Art and Creativity on Mental Health in the Community at Together Reading Services

They also looked at the positive effect that can have on the community in their services which include Berkshire Managing Emotions Programme, Berkshire West Breathing Space, Reading Community Outreach Service and Through winter’s chill, Together we heal. As part of those events, artists who had used Together services featured their work and spoke about workshops and exhibitions that had been held that had given them a space to do that. Together spoke with two of those artists about their own lived experiences of mental distress, how using Together services had benefitted them and the importance of art and creativity in supporting their mental wellbeing.

Joseph Silvanos

Joseph shares open and unguarded lived experience of mental distress and the positive impact art and creativity has had for him. He explains how he has seen beauty in times of darkness and used expression to improve his mental wellbeing.

Content Warning – Please be aware Joseph’s video contains references to suicidal thoughts and self harm that people may find distressing.

More about Joseph

Joseph Silvanos

Silvanos, born Joseph Sil Vanos Wafula, is an artist who traverses the cultural landscapes of England and Kenya, melding these influences into a vibrant tapestry of art. Residing now in England where his journey began, Silvanos paints not just canvases, but also the narrative of his life, marked by a profound resilience and a unique aesthetic perspective.

Discovering the artist within: art became Silvanos’ sanctuary following a significant mental breakdown, transforming from a therapeutic pastime into a vital expression of his very being. His self-taught mastery in various mediums, including painting and digital art, is a testament to his relentless pursuit of artistic excellence.

Influences and inspirations: originally inspired by his brother Bob Wafula, it was the legendary painter Bob Ross who truly unlocked Silvanos’ creative potential. Through ross’s serene art tutorials, Silvanos found both technique and tranquillity.

Exploring the human condition: through his art, Silvanos delves into themes of connectivity and the human spirit, examining life, love, and beauty. His works reflect a deep commitment to exploring mental health, aiming to illuminate and soothe the complexities of human emotion with every stroke and script.

Connect and explore: Silvano invites viewers to explore his creations, which are both a reflection of his soul’s narrative and a universal commentary on our shared experiences. To see the world through his eyes, follow his artistic journey on Instagram @silvanosart, where each piece tells a story of struggle, recovery, and the relentless pursuit of beauty in the art of living.

Waleid Yasir

Waleid came to the UK as a refugee from Sudan and used Together’s Reading Community Outreach Service after struggling with his mental health. He shares lived experience of mental distress and how the service supported him explaining how using art and taking part in workshops improved his wellbeing and allowed him to express himself.

More about Waleid

Waleid describes himself as a melancholic artist, with a wealth of Ideas and life experiences. His inspiration predominantly derives from the world around him, as he eagerly seeks to unravel the meaning of beauty in life and explore the intricate creations bestowed by God.

Waleid’s focus lies in historical paintings, cultural expressions, and traditional art forms. He also harbors a desire to create artworks based on religious narratives, drawing from subjects that pique his interest.

He extends his heartfelt gratitude to the community, whose unwavering support has been instrumental during times of struggle and adversity.