RTProjects goal is to help people enduring poor mental health to live a full life. We achieve our aims by providing group art therapy sessions and one to one support at our ‘Open Art Surgery’ in Gilesgate, Durham. We work alongside people affected by depression, anxiety and those at risk of suicide. We provide people with the opportunity for creative expression and to be part of a safe, supportive community. We enable people to develop emotional resilience and coping strategies and, when ready, to embark upon a personal journey towards recovery, whatever that may mean to the individual.
Here is one person’s reflection on attending RTProjects sessions.
“RT Projects is a wonderful place run by amazing people. A safe place to go when you have mental health problems or are feeling isolated in the community, somewhere to relax and be yourself without having to put a brave face on how you may be feeling. I’ve been going to RT for several years now and I know if i hadn’t been going here and getting the help and support by all that run this place, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
In addition to our core activities, our suicide prevention campaign ‘Never Give Up’ aims to raise awareness of suicide by starting conversations delivering, lectures, concerts and training around suicide intervention. We also encourage people to wear t-shirts and badges to initiate conversations around the topic of suicide and by publicising our life saving musical composition ‘Never Give Up’. Our hope is that the song will reach people who we may never even meet. Our dream is that it will save a life. We know it already has. One survivor wrote “..the heartbeat of this song reaches me in the deep; restoring real and tangible hope that sparks life in me again, and again… reminding me I am not alone.”
What are your current priorities?
Our current priority is trying to reduce the impact of the enforced isolation of people already at high risk of suicide as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.
What challenges are you currently facing?
As a result of social distancing regulations we need to double the number of sessions we deliver to accommodate the same number of people. We are receiving more and more referrals as a result of the covid-19 crisis. We don’t currently have the staff nor the funding to deliver the additional sessions.