As part of the National Centre for Creative Health (NCCH) and All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPG) Creative Health Review, the Review has commissioned a range of artists with their own lived experience to respond creatively to each of the Review’s roundtable themes.

I was delighted to be one of the commissioned artists and responded to our Mental Health and Wellbeing across the Life Course theme.

This image has evolved from a creative absorption of the content of the first online webinar held by the NCCH for the Creative Health Review and my own Lived Experience of supporting family members living with mental ill-health. Since receiving the commission, one of my relatives became seriously unwell and had three subsequent hospitalisations; I am well-versed in the importance of hope during such difficult times and have included that as a key theme.

The artwork, a drawing and collage, incorporating some direct quotes from the discussion and multiple photographs of dandelions draws upon my own experience of the importance of nature, art and movement in supporting mental wellbeing.

Whilst considering the complexity of creating an image that might represent the uniqueness and beauty of multiple individuals throughout their life courses and a form of health that is practically invisible I noticed the beauty of this simple flower. In the landscape around me dandelions seem to be everywhere and easy to ignore, and yet, if we care to look closely we can find beauty and fragility in all forms of their growth, development and ageing. I hope this image as a simple metaphor for us all will enable us to look more closely and care more deeply about affecting positive change in mental healthcare: the arts have a huge role to play in this and can enable the building of a happier and healthier society. Sue Flowers

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