What is Inside Out?
Inside Out is Soulscape’s creative arts mental health project for young people. It was first commissioned by Bracknell Council in 2016. It aims to give young people a greater awareness of mental health and provides them with an enjoyable opportunity to express themselves through professionally-led creative art sessions.
‘I don’t want today to finish.’
How does Inside Out work?
Part one is an introduction to mental health. It lasts around one hour and takes place in a classroom. Through games and exercises, young people identify positives and negatives that affect the way they feel inside, and begin to recognise that although people may look happy on the outside, they may be hiding a completely different inner world. There is also an opportunity to try out simple breathing, relaxation and self-esteem promoting techniques.
Part two is an opportunity to communicate to others the way we think and feel inside. During two longer creative art sessions in a school art room, young people enjoy complete freedom to express themselves through painting, 3D modelling or body art, with visiting professional artists on hand to help them with new art media and techniques. Young people say they particularly value this creative space.
Why is Inside Out important?
Young people live with increasing amounts of stress, whether due to problems with friends, family breakdown and fragmentation, fear of failing, anxiety to conform and be liked, school work and exams, bullying, others’ expectations, low self-esteem, bereavement and ill-health in the family, or fear of the future. Because long-term stress can damage mental health, Inside Out shows young people positive strategies that can help to combat the effects of stress, and promote mental wellbeing.
‘I’m leaving this session with a smile on my face.’
What is different about Inside Out?
Inside Out delivers information and practical experience. Not only does it highlight the importance of mental health and wellbeing, it also creates space for learning new skills and for healthy self-expression through art. Young people are given permission to be themselves and to share with the world outside what it feels like on the inside.
The work they are creating is exciting, challenging and humorous; a window into the world of young people in today’s society, and Soulscape is delighted to be able to present their growing body of art for public exhibition.
‘I feel amazed at what I can do and how I can feel.’
2021: More Inside Out
In 2021, we were funded by More Arts to develop a new version of the project. More Inside Out focusses on supporting young people’s wellbeing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Taking part in an art project can help them process and express their feelings and feel connected to others.