Posted on: 20 February 2020

Patients from the Park Royal Centre for Mental Health have produced a painting representing their recovery journeys, during art workshops hosted by the charity Hestia in Brent.

Russell Coles, Artist and Hestia volunteer met with ten patients over four weeks, to come up with a piece of art that illustrates their journeys.

“The purpose was to make people feel better through painting, being together and doing activities,” said Russell, at the unveiling of the painting at Park Royal. “It’s quite an interesting, and powerful thing to paint together.”

The group decided to paint a recovery tree to represent themselves in all seasons of life, and show the possibilities of growth in a person’s recovery journey.

 “The before and after was quite significant,” said Joy Goddard, Coproduction Coordinator at Hestia. “Because everyone said they enjoyed the process and had grown in confidence. They were all surprised at their own abilities,” she said.

“Most of us aren’t practised in doing a piece of creativity together, and creativity is something that’s quite unique, and it can be quite precious and scary to reveal it. Very similar to our mental health and that’s why I think a lot of this works,” said Joy.

‘It’s more than a picture’

Hestia works with Park Royal to help patients transition from hospital back into the community. They provide peer support groups on hospital wards, where patients can meet workers who they will also see in the community after discharge. Patients can refer themselves to Hestia, or can be referred by occupational therapists at the centre.

Eric Craig, CNWL’s Interim Borough Director for Brent said:

“It’s really nice to see a graphic example of simple things that can make people’s lives better. They’ve learnt confidence, learnt to negotiate in a group, work together, and develop cohesive ideas, ending up with what is a fantastic piece of art.

“It’s easy to underestimate it, and say it’s just a picture but it isn’t. People have gone through a huge process to learn to do this in a very different way, and it’s something to believe you can do something different in the community. You don’t have to depend on hospital or a psychiatrist to think through some of the challenges you have in life. It makes a real tangible difference in the community.”

Nicola Jhumat, Practice Development Manager and Lead Occupational Therapist at the mental health centre said the art was a symbol of partnership.

“It’s been great having peer support coming in to the centre. Having a familiar face to connect to in the community is so important. It maintains connection, and that’s what this painting represents – collaboration throughout, with patients and staff, with us and Hestia.”

The art project was one of several Hestia is running at the centre, and Lucilene Eccles, Activities Coordinator said that patient activities make a big difference.

“Whether it’s art or singing, it gives patients some kind of belief in themselves again. When they come in, in crisis, their self-esteem goes lower; they believe they can’t do things. But when they paint or draw they get their confidence again.   When they start painting and you can see their faces change.”


Lucilene Eccles, Activities Coordinator, Eric Craig, CNWL’s Interim Borough Director for Brent, Russell Coles, Artist and Hestia volunteer, and Joy Goddard, Coproduction Coordinator at Hestia