Arts for the Blues began as a collaborative research project between artists, therapists, universities, NHS trusts and cultural institutions. The team have developed a new evidence-based creative psychological therapy for depression in response to research and findings which point to a need for a helpful and alternative model of treatment for depression in the UK. Arts for the Blues was originally designed to help tackle depression in adults in deprived areas of North West England and began in a primary mental health care setting in Manchester. Since then, the project has grown to deliver pilot projects in Liverpool, Manchester and surrounding areas. It has also been adapted for use with children, NHS clinical staff, carers, and mothers and babies.
We are continuing to develop further research to explore how creative psychological therapies, and Arts for the Blues, can improve wellbeing. We are committed to working collaboratively with individuals and organisations to enhance current delivery of place-based arts initiatives.
We work closely with arts organisations, health and social care organisations, lived experience experts, frontline staff and local leads to encourage shared learning across sectors and regions.
How did the model develop?
How is this model different?
Arts for the Blues is an evidence based creative psychological therapy that offers a model for the safe uses of the arts in healthcare, community, and artistic practice. The model is extensively used across these sectors.
It is flexible and versatile so that it may be adapted for use across different populations and for different purposes.
“The activities really brought prospective on feelings and emotions”Arts for the Blues participant
Who it’s for
Work with adults began with developing the model for depression and anxiety, it then expanded to address mental health and wellbeing, and personal development.
Children & Young People
The Arts for the Blues has worked with children at risk of developing mental issues, and children with mental health concerns.
The model has been implemented with parents, caregivers of children with autism and parents and babies.
Arts for the Blues was developed to work with the wellbeing of NHS frontline staff during Covid-19 and has expanded to address doctors in training and mental health practitioners in the NHS.
Professor Vicky Karkou
Director for Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing at Edge Hill University and Creative Arts Psychotherapist
Dr Joanna Omylinska-Thurston
Counseling Psychologist at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT, and Lecturer at University of Salford
Professor Scott Thurston
Poet, and Professor at University of Salford
Research Assistant for Arts for the Blues, Lecturer at Edge Hill University and Dance Movement Psychotherapist.
Dr Shaun Liverpool
Chartered Psychologist and Lecturer in Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Research Assistant for Arts for the Blues
Dr Tasneem Patel
Lecturer in Mental Health at Edge Hill University
Our partner organisations
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If you would like to work with the Arts for the Blues team on a new project or would like to implement the Arts for the Blues therapy model into your organisation, we would love to hear from you.