Our State of Flux programme works to overcome difficulties young people face with their identity, feelings and future, which have manifested in self harm, eating disorders and hearing voices. Funded by a grant from BBC Children in Need, the programme uses music, film and dance to develop a sense of self-worth, improve communication skills and rebuild relationships through weekly sessions on the ward, community sharing events and discharge sessions.
We run State of Flux runs at The Cove, a specialist inpatient unit for young people between the ages of 13 and 18 who are experiencing acute mental health problems. To provide continuity and consistency of care, the programme offers free community art sessions to those who have been discharged from The Cove, or have been referred to us by Children & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
Amira* chose not to communicate with others, she had a very low mood and wouldn’t take part in any activities. But State of Flux sessions created some curiosity, Amira stayed for an introduction, then observed a session, staying longer each time. After a few weeks she felt comfortable enough to join in with the dance exercises. Her Occupational Health Worker said, “this is the first time Amira has communicated, albeit not verbally, that she was interested in anything at all.” Amira’s interactions continued and her confidence grew. She began to try other creative outlets, playing in the band that composed and performed the music for the Year 1 Film . During the practice and recordings Laura, our Project Manager said, “eventually she was laughing and giggling while we were all working away.”
Living with and managing mental health is a long process and like many inpatients, Amira returned to The Cove, following her initial discharge. This time she settled back into State of Flux quickly and was soon fully engaged in the creativity; making visual art, stop motion animation, dance movements and music. Before too long she was ready to be discharged again but this time there was a difference.
Community sessions were in place and working with Amira’s Occupational Health Worker we immediately arranged opportunities for Amira. She has been able to develop her creativity through dance, learning to form relationships along the way. She works closely with Amber, our Lead Dance Artist and has found her own ways to communicate, to choose the kind of work she would like to explore.
Amira continues to build her resilience and independence finding a pathway forward. Her Occupational Health Worker confirmed that “she is currently on her longest most stable period of discharge”. State of Flux gave Amira the opportunity to learn new skills, working at her own pace to build confidence and relationships that will enable her to move into a future she can create.
*Not her real name to protect identity