Art classes keep mental ill health from escalating during COVID-19

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New hobbies helped millions of Australians weather tough times when COVID-19 forced us to isolate.

Client art

Sourdough baking, running and DIY renovations are some of the things that helped people deal with the unique challenges of 2020. But for many of our community’s more vulnerable, who were already experiencing mental ill health before the arrival of the pandemic, being able to attend or log into an art or photography class made all the difference to their mental resilience and ability to deal with so much change.

Striving to present practical solutions to their community, Primary & Community Care Services (PCCS) recognised the importance of maintaining their support during this time and doubled the number of social prescribing art and photography groups available and developed new online programs that met client’s needs.

This is Us is the beautiful culmination of those art and photography groups, a celebration of making it through the year in brave, emotional and restorative artworks.

In its fourth year, This is Us opens at the Wallarobba Arts Centre in Hornsby from 8-12 December.

“I love the groups because I can socialise and be creative and express myself. I can find a place where there’s care and love and just goodness,” explains participant Dan. “The teachers just gave me a way of looking at life and not worrying about things too much.”

PCCS’ important role of providing the community with a COVIDSafe place to be, to connect with others and develop in areas they are struggling has been greatly appreciated by the community. For many, it has been a place to go when all other doors seem to shut during a time they were needed the most.

“A lot of our clients really struggled with the isolation of lockdown so as an essential service provider we knew we needed to adapt to continue to support them,” says PCCS CEO, Dr J.R. Baker. “We launched online groups in April and many groups are still continuing online which has allowed greater participation as our physical spaces still have social distancing limits.
As a result, we’ve actually seen a significant increase in our attendances from April-September compared to the same time last year.”

Client photographyAs the Australian leader in social prescribing, PCCS develops practical solutions based on evidence. Our groups have proven to have a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of our clients.

GPs can use social prescribing to help patient’s non-medical needs, such as social isolation, by prescribing social activities to increase wellbeing. The groups are accessible through many PCCS programs or for those with an NDIS plan.

This is Us is open from 12-4pm Tuesday-Friday and Saturday 10am-2pm, 8-12 December at the Wallarobba Arts Centre at 25 Edgeworth David Avenue, Hornsby. Visit our event page for more details.