#COT2017 S30A – Occupation Station STARTwork: an art-based intervention to support people experiencing mental ill health move towards employment

S30A STARTwork 4STARTwork is a programme with an aim for people to return to work following a period of mental ill health.  As an Occupational Therapist who has worked in young people’s mental health services and early intervention psychosis services, this session appealed to me greatly.  I then found out that there was the added bonus of papercraft – I do origami outside of work so felt keen to be involved!

The session soon filled and proved to be very popular with people being turned away or observing from the outskirts.

In groups of 6 a paper flower was constructed in 5 stages of bloom and an opening title scene was created.

People expressed concern over their own ability but the groups supported each other and had to communicate so they got the colours of the flower in the same order for each stage. Rachel commented that this was the same pattern that happened in the groups she ran with service users.

S30A STARTwork 2Following this Rachel demonstrated how to use the stop-motion phone app to create a short stop-motion film of the flower blooming. Levels of concentration were high in order to line up the various flower stages up correctly, accounting for distance and height to each person. There was a great deal of laughter and commentary throughout the process.

After creating the stop-motion films, which were short and impressive, Rachel opened up the following question to the group:

  • What are the benefits of this task to aiding work?
    • Answers included: team work, increasing confidence and self-esteem, concentration and focus, communication and coordination as well as group work.

We discussed the use of this type of intervention within our own practices – it was cheap to do with quick results or the potential to turn into a longer project as Rachel had done with her service users. Other suggestions included using it within learning disabilities services, with people with ADHD and for aiding emotional intelligence in a variety of patient groups.

The group lingered following the session, keen to discuss more about including this in their practice.  It seemed such a simple, effective and cheap way of incorporating technology into achieving a variety of occupation that are meaningful.IMG_0450

The stop motions that we created in this session will be available to view on Twitter: @startinsalford

Apps for stop motion animation:

iPhone: iMotion (free), Stop Motion Studio (free) StopMotion (free)

Android: StopMotion Maker (free), Claymation (£1.99), Stop-Motion (£1.25)


Rachel Jones (Start in Salford) @startinsalford @dobedobedo14

Blog post by Catherine Gray (@CGray_OT)

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