Wednesday, September 24, 2008

UserWatch Says "Guardian LOOK DEEPER at mental health arts ! "


Cartoon By KAKATOO UserWatch Cartoonist


The Guardian has reported (Sept 24th) on Prof . Jenny Secker's study which concludes that art in mental health helps people - but oh dear us, the State has got hold of this and is bound to invade the MH arts even more .

We recall the doomed Govt backed MadForArts (Dept of Media and Sport Culture Online) fiasco and its high costs (500k) which both Rethink and Mental Health Media were involved in and which could have sustained with its diverted funds many User Arts groups Online - and taught them how to use the net for showcasing and more ...

We know this is true - we were part of what happened in those 2005 days of the project when Jenny Secker was just being commissioned to do her studies on MH Arts Service Users .

Silvis Rivers - part of the UserWatch team was thrown off MadForArts for wrting poetry that was mildly satirical . He was the first in the country to be thrown off for honest vision . Billy the Silv ..

The worry we have, is seeing the NHS Trusts create new bureacracy rather than Users creating their own Service User groups locally from the same funding at a far less cost to sustain ... Yes , MH Arts are positive (until they criticise the NHS system then it quarantines that) but they need freedom to grow autonomously , not to do so in sterile staff loaded contexts with new social firm careers in mind ..

The MH charities too have their inhouse art showcasing logics and supply sides of Users to trot out . We dont criticise the Users in the main - they are often exploited for showcasing - but it all can be turned into creating more staff and more organisation and more grants for the managers in the Charity and all inside too much co-dependency often ..

Smaller grants must be made available to Service Users with art talent (and by god there are some out there ) to train them into how to exploit their arts and creative activities otherwise we are heading for a kind of NHS style social firm backed arts-remploy.

The Guardian showed off Stuart Davies picture with their article - its very beautiful - go and see it .

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