Building a Better Health Service

Art Display boost therapy success

HSE CEO Paul Reid with the artists from EVE Larine: Ann Sheeran, Jasvir Gill, John Smyth and David Cassidy.

HSE CEO Paul Reid with the artists from EVE Larine: Ann Sheeran, Jasvir Gill, John Smyth and David Cassidy.

A talented group of amateur artists have seen their paintings take pride of place in the office of HSE CEO Paul Reid.

The four artists all attend EVE Larine HUB, in Maynooth.  EVE is a programme within the HSE, whose primary ethos is to provide community-based recovery-orientated programmes for adults who experience mental health difficulties, intellectual difficulties and Asperger’s Syndrome.

As part of their programmes, the artists have been producing some amazing artwork of their own, which are now on display in HSE headquarters at Dr Steevens’ Hospital in Dublin.

“Margaret Webb, General Manager of EVE approached us to say that Paul Reid was interested in getting a piece of artwork to display. Everyone was so excited at the thought of being selected. We sent in a number of paintings, all amazing, and they picked out some great ones,” said Caroline Brogan, a supervisor at EVE Larine.

“We have a beautiful garden here at the centre and our artists get so much inspiration from the beauty of nature all around us. They regularly bring their sketchbooks out and try to capture the scenery out there. You can see that throughout their paintings.”

The lucky artists David Cassidy, John Smyth, Jasvir Gill and Ann Sheeran were on hand to meet the HSE CEO and his staff when the paintings were presented recently.

Caroline said the framing workshop at Wheatfield Prison stepped in to make the frames for them free of charge.

“We were thrilled to get such beautiful frames for the paintings, which the workshop did for free. It was a great collaboration,” she said.

HSE CEO Paul Reid said he was delighted to be able to display the paintings.

“I want to thank the artists from EVE Larine for allowing us to hang their beautiful artwork here in my offices in Dr Steevens’ Hospital. It was a pleasure to meet with everyone and talk about the incredible work that is being done in Maynooth by both the staff and participants of EVE Larine. The passion and commitment of which they spoke is inspiring and showed how effective the EVE Programmes can be when driven by local people and the considerable benefits it can bring to our communities,” he said.

The art programme, which Caroline leads out on, has proven to be a key part of the HUB programme. This features individually-tailored plans which are reviewed during key worker meetings and their person-centred planning meetings every 17 weeks.

“In EVE Larine HUB, we are all about helping people to realise their goals. We make a person-centred plan with each person where they outline their goals and we develop a 17-week programme to help them towards those goals. That might mean continuing to attend the centre, move on to a job in the community or go on into an education field,” said Caroline.

“A number of people take part in the art programme here at the centre and have really developed their skills as an artist. They meet twice a week, including one session that is self-guided where they work on their own artwork.

“My role is to facilitate the artists and their work. We go to art galleries, we arrange for an artist to come in and talk to them, we go out and take pictures of scenes that they would like to paint. They are leading the work so it really is a co-production. They now look to each other for answers and that is fantastic to see.”

The art programme has given the participants personal experience of the positive, therapeutic impact that art can have on their lives and on their mental health. They have also seen their talents improve and progress over the weeks.

“The art is very therapeutic. The participants get to develop their own skills and that helps to build up their confidence. Some people wouldn’t be as able to outwardly express themselves and the art is a great medium for that,” said Caroline.

“We are all so proud of their achievements. It was a great boost to the participants to see their paintings hanging on the wall. And it brought a bit of an extra drive and made them keener to do things out in the community.”

Artist David Cassidy said, “It was an amazing experience, I felt my paintings were appreciated. I have been inspired to continue painting.” Fellow artist Jasvir Gill added, “I felt respected as an artist, I am very proud of myself. I feel energized by the whole experience.”

On average, a person spends two years at EVE Larine HUB before moving on to their next path, be it education or employment.

The EVE philosophy sees recovery as an optimistic approach for a recovery towards positive mental health. People can and do recover from mental ill-health and go on to live purposeful lives, with or without medication. The participants in their centres are in the process of their own recovery, encouraged to take responsibility for themselves, actively involved in their own treatment and participating in the running of the centre. As staff, they believe in people so that they can believe in themselves and have hope for the future.