6th October 2022

The healing power of art – an exhibition to get people talking about mental health

Derbyshire artist Kate Smith is exhibiting six paintings at Ilkeston Community Hospital to mark World Mental Health Day on Monday 10 October.

Kate, an artist, designer, children’s illustrator and workshop leader, has a mental health condition called acute & transient psychotic disorder. She has decided to share her mental health journey with hospital staff, patients and visitors by creating six watercolours, each one depicting different reflections on how her mental health manifests itself. She hopes the paintings will raise awareness of, and get people talking about, mental health, not just on World Mental Health Day but every day.

Kate said: "I've always enjoyed art and I started to use drawing and painting as a coping tool when I was in hospital. When I was in a dark place, art helped."

The six paintings represent the positive and negative experiences that Kate has with mental health.

One of her first drawings in hospital was a teardrop that she was drawing from a shampoo bottle – this is represented by one of the positive paintings that is up at Ilkeston. The second is of blue butterflies – the butterflies represent the butterflies you get with anxiety, but they also remind Kate of happy memories in Cornwall with her Mum, watching blue butterflies on flowers. The third positive painting is of a yellow tulip, Kate’s favourite flower and yellow representing strength. The tulips also remind Kate of her Grandma teaching her how to arrange tulips to make sure they do not droop – stand up and stay strong.

The three negative drawings represent psychotic clouds and the storm of psychosis, psychosis crosses and intrusive thoughts, and anxiety.

The drawings will be up in the main corridor of Ilkeston Community Hospital throughout October and everyone is welcome to drop in to view the exhibition during the month.

Kate added: “If you are visiting or are in the area, please call in, have a look and speak to your friends and family about mental health.”