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Performance art workshops offer Havering residents the opportunity to improve their mental health

PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:04 07 February 2018

Tina Stewart and Clair Griffin of PALS who run drama workshops for people with mental health issues

Tina Stewart and Clair Griffin of PALS who run drama workshops for people with mental health issues

Archant

Havering residents struggling with mental health issues are invited to take part in performance and creative art workshops to help improve their wellbeing.

Participants in a PALS workshop Participants in a PALS workshop

Tina Stewart created Performance Art Life Skills (PALS) in order to provide a safe space for people who want to express themselves and improve their wellbeing through the performing arts.

PALS, which is run by Tina and her assistant Clair Griffin, are starting a new project at Myplace, Dagnam Park Drive in Harold Hill on Wednesday, February 21.

Adults with lived experience of mental ill health, dementia, learning or physical disabilities are invited to take part in the improvisation based drama and creative art workshops.

Tina was always interested in drama but didn’t have the confidence to take part in performances at school.

Participants in a PALS workshop Participants in a PALS workshop

It wasn’t until many years later when her health took a downturn, and Tina found her life had completely changed that she began to get involved with drama again.

She told the Recorder: “About 11 years ago, I became unwell. I used to lose consciousness which led to me becoming depressed.

“It was such a big life change for me, because instead of working I was suddenly stuck at home all the time.”

Things began to change when Tina was provided with the opportunity to take part in some drama workshops provided by a mental health organisation.

“The effect it had on people’s wellbeing, it was just fantastic,” said Tina.

“I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t gone to those drama groups.”

After taking part in three months of workshops, Tina was told that funding restrictions meant she could no longer take part.

Tina decided to get some training and form her own drama workshops.

Speaking about what advice she would give to people who are feeling unwell, Tina said: “I would say, talk to people which I know is not always easy.

“When you first go to a doctor, try and ask them what services are out there other than medication.”

PALS provide a free taster session, after which participants have to pay.

Tina said: “Come along and try, you have got everything to gain and nothing to lose.”

If you would like to take part call 07709 893637, or email tinastewart31@gmail.com.

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