University of Central Lancashire students show off their artistic side to help North West Ambulance Service share a powerful message about mental health
University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) illustration students have teamed up with the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to raise awareness of how important talking is when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention.
Nineteen students, who are studying illustration degrees, have used their creative flare to produce artwork, as part of their Applied Illustration module, encouraging people to take small steps that could make a big difference when it comes to mental health.
Their artwork is designed to demonstrate to people within Lancashire and the North West the importance of not being afraid to open up and have difficult conversations in support of positive mental health.
Mental health conditions were in the top 10 reasons for 999 calls to NWAS over the past two winters, specifically the 18 to 30 age bracket – Lancashire being one of the areas with the greatest number of calls.
The winter months can be a challenging time for many of us and our mental health. Shorter days resulting in less light, cold, and sometimes extreme weather can influence our mood and make it difficult to go about our daily lives.
"This has been a fantastic opportunity for our year two illustration students to experience a live design brief working for a client"— UCLan Illustration Lecturer Maria Stuart
Lesley Jones, Head of Mental Health for NWAS, said: “It is hoped the artwork will resonate with many and signify hope and positivity - the art will be shared across NWAS’ social media channels in the coming weeks to raise awareness.”
One of the students, Holly Gallagher, 23 from Skelmersdale, created a hand drawn series of three illustrations, she says: “The idea behind my work was to depict a journey through mental health showing in each illustration the thoughts of the person at that time. It shows how it can feel to be in a low state of mental health as well as showing suggestions for looking after your mental wellbeing. I think that art can capture attention and communicate messages because of how subjects like this can connect and resonate with people.”
UCLan Course Leader, Maria Stuart, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for our year two illustration students to experience a live design brief working for a client. It has enabled students to develop their skills and confidence creating illustration for an important mental health project. They have been given great guidance and support by the NWAS team who have really helped them to build their knowledge of real world design projects.”
South Lancashire Operations Manager for NWAS, Craig Davies visited the students to personally thank them for their work on 23 January 2024.
If you are struggling with your mental health, the NHS has a Talking Therapies service that anybody aged 18 or over living in England can access. Your GP can refer you or you can refer yourself at www.nhs.uk/talk
For more help and advice on how to lift your mood or ease anxiety, search ‘Every Mind Matters’ online to access the dedicated NHS website.