Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Healing Power of Taking Part; A Scheme to Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing Is a Hit with North East Residents. Health Reporter HELEN RAE Explains

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Healing Power of Taking Part; A Scheme to Improve Mental Health and Wellbeing Is a Hit with North East Residents. Health Reporter HELEN RAE Explains

Article excerpt

Byline: HELEN RAE

A PROJECT aimed at improving mental health and wellbeing in Tyneside is proving to be a great success.

Taking Part Workshops Community Interest Company, which has only recently celebrated its first birthday, has been running an arts on prescription service since October for residents living in the area.

The programme enables people who are feeling stressed and anxious to increase their confidence and self-esteem by taking part in fun and creative activities aimed at improving their health.

Mary Anderson, 45, of Wallsend, who has been involved in the workshops, said: "Before attending the workshops I was totally depressed - I was off work for about a year and I didn''t really do anything.

"The doctor advised that I needed to start to get involved with different activities in the community.

"I didn''t really know what I wanted to do then I saw a leaflet for Taking Part Workshops in a GP waiting room.

"I liked the sound of the salsa dancing and the drumming.

"I was a bit apprehensive about attending at first but everyone was really friendly. "I like everything about it. It gets you out of yourself. It takes you away from your problem for a little while and it''s great. I would recommend it to anyone."

She added: "After the classes I have felt relaxed and upbeat. I have enjoyed doing the classes and hope to attend more in the future.

"It was a supportive, gentle and kind environment and I think there are more people out there that would benefit.

"These workshops and the tutor especially have greatly improved my selfconfidence and presentation." People attending the workshops have been able to access the activities for free by filling in an activities on prescription slip which then gets stamped by their GP. There is a wide selection of activities including drama, dance and fitness and craft workshops on offer.

Victoria Smyth, project manager for Taking Part Workshops, said: "There are now even more ways for the public to get involved with Taking Part Workshops. …

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