How one Londoner uses art to manage her mental health

CREDIT: CALEIGH REID
Jane Roy uses art to manage her own emotions and help support others.

An increasing body of evidence supports the idea that engaging with various forms of art can be a powerful antidote to the challenges of modern life. From painting and sculpture to poetry and dance, the therapeutic benefits of artistic expression on mental health are slowly gaining traction.

In a world where it can be difficult for those to find ways to deal with mental health, co-founder of the London Food Bank, Jane Roy, expressed how she uses art as a coping mechanism.

“I used to paint a lot, but after my parents passed away, I sort of stopped. My husband, however, rearranged our garage into a painting area for me so I can get back into it and keep me busy, so I used it as a way of grieving and just continued ever since.”

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She mentioned how she gives her artwork to friends and family, or anyone she knows that is dealing with a hard time or the loss of a loved one to give back to them, since she can understand how they are feeling.

“I love giving pieces to people that I know that have struggled. It becomes my way of support. It’s definitely helped my mental health but it also for me is an outreach of services to others in terms of what they’re going through.”

For the past five years, Roy has been on a journey as an artist in London and found mentors to help bring her artwork to different galleries. Recently, she visited the Westland Gallery in Wortley Village where she held an “Art Talk.” One of her previous exhibitions that was also held at the Westland Gallery and all proceeds were sent to South Sudan as she is known for her humanitarian efforts there.

As the co-founder of the London Food Bank, she has given a lot of her time to that business. But in her spare time, she paints to keep herself busy.

“Working a nine-to-five can be a bit much for me, but I give my time fully to the Food Bank. I like to keep busy and even running a business still gives me time for myself in the evenings after a long day.”

Art provides a unique channel for individuals to express and explore their emotions. Whether it’s the vibrant hues of a painting, the rhythmic movements of a dance, or the carefully chosen words of a poem. Artistic endeavours offer a safe space for people to articulate and process their feelings. This process of self-expression is increasingly recognized as a vital component of mental health maintenance and recovery.