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This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) sees us slowly emerging from an incredibly difficult year, an unprecedented period of social isolation and economic uncertainty.

Last year we heard from Eddie Armer, who volunteers at West Kent Mind and is the author of two books for Search Press, about his thoughts on creativity and mental health. You can read his previous blog post here.

We caught up with Eddie, after a tumultuous year, and it is safe to say his thoughts remain the same.

"Two of my greatest passions are music and art. They have provided me with not only a great deal of pleasure and creativity, but also solace.

Have you noticed how time becomes suspended when you are immersed in creativity, whether painting, drawing, writing or any activity which requires concentration and more importantly focus? ‘The time just seems to have flown by’, a comment I have heard so many times at the end of a workshop. The reason for this is that to create, your mind must be very firmly in the present and connected. Because of the mind's tendency to continually flit from one subject to another, or visit the past and ponder the future, it can be quite difficult to be in the present.

With regards to our mental health, the safest place to be is in the present away from negative or unwanted thoughts. Focusing on a creative activity, is a very effective way to achieve this. Just a thought."

This year’s MHAW is during the period 10th-16th May and focuses on the theme of nature. Well, this suits us! Spring is a wonderful time to be out and about and there are plenty of opportunities for en plein air painting, sketching in parks and collecting twigs and leaves for various eco-friendly crafts. Even if it is a bit too soon to be gallivanting through the countryside, art and crafts gives us a multitude of avenues to explore the natural world from the safety of our own homes and combine the powers of nature and creativity to improve our wellbeing.

Images from left to right: Drawing - A Complete Guide: Nature, 52 Nature Craft Projects, The Acrylic Flower Painter's A to Z

Don’t forget to check out the Mental Health Foundation to learn more about what you can do to support your own mental health and the mental health of others in your community.

Eddie is fundraising for West Kent Mind. If you would like to donate, please visit his JustGiving page.

Eddie lives in Kent, UK, and works with vulnerable adults through art and music. He also writes about drawing and is a contributor to Artist and Illustrator Magazine. He believes creativity in art and music are intrinsically linked.


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