Mental Health Link On Culture Agenda

A unique mental health project will link Liverpool and Stavanger during Capital of Culture year. Everyone from people given therapy at home to patients in Ashworth hospital will have the chance to get involved. Artwork created in the two cities, which are each capitals of culture in 2008, could form an exhibition in both Liverpool and Norway.

Specialists in Liverpool say learning and meaningful activity are an important part of recovery for people with mental health problems.

Now Mersey Care NHS Trust, which treats 10,000 people in Mersey-side, wants to build on existing links with its Norwegian counterparts to share in a creative, cultural ex- change between service users, carers and staff in the two countries.

Judith Mawer, Stavanger project leader at Mersey Care, said: “We’ve identified a number of themes which are part of Liverpool’s heritage – music, sport, transport and the sea – and we’re hoping there will be a range of opportunities to make some sort of creative response through art, dance, poetry and even cooking. Ideas range from high art to popular culture. There’s something for everybody, whether you’re into Ibsen’s plays or the Eurovision Song Contest.”

Initiatives are likely to include everything from a memories project with older people to decorating giant Liver birds and their eggs.

It is expected the project will form part of 2008’s international Cities on the Edge project, and links may also be forged with mental health work-ers in Marseilles and Naples.