artist sharing mental health

On 14 November 2022, Candida Rosier delivered an insightful presentation to Create’s professional artists and staff, sharing her knowledge and experience of working with young patients in mental health wards.

Candida has been an occupational therapist for more than 40 years. She has spent 15 of them working on Aquarius Ward, an inpatient service for young people experiencing a mental health crisis in South West London. Create has been delivering creative arts projects with Aquarius Ward patients since 2021.

We spoke to Candida about why she thinks running creative arts projects with young patients is important. Read the interview or watch the video below.

“I’ve come here today to help [Create] artists feel confident running workshops on a ward like mine because it can be quite a challenge and it can be quite scary.

“I think everybody is a bit taken aback when they go into a mental health ward. If you work there, it’s complete second nature and we can’t really see what anyone’s scared about, but people are doing surprising things and saying surprising things and there’s quite a lot of shouting some days. If you’re not used to that, it is quite scary as you don’t really know what’s going on.

“So, I wanted [the Create team] to feel like they had the skills and were equipped to come and run workshops. The more knowledge you’ve got, the more it helps your confidence.”


“Quite a lot of young people on our ward can be tense and very unfree about themselves, so by the time the end of the week comes and they’ve been doing the same thing every day, and they’ve got to know the artist, that allows them to let themselves go a little bit.

“Creativity is crucial to the young people on the ward. It’s really important that they realise they can be creative, that they feel confident enough in trying things out, and that they relearn how to have fun. They can do that individually, and they can do it cooperatively with each other, and that helps interaction. It helps so many of their skills, which they can then transfer into other areas of their life.

“You’re not going to get a kid to do anything enormously complicated very confidently in five afternoon workshops, but sometimes you can sow a seed of that idea and they can discover that actually, they do like this and they can take a photo.

“We’ve seen some amazing results of kids whose confidence has grown. A recent music project we had was amazing. We had a young person who was a real challenge, but she was able to sing and record a song to the music we composed and it was wonderful to hear. It makes you think that even though it was difficult, there was an amazing end result. If you ask the majority of kids on Aquarius Ward what their good qualities and skills are when they come in, they always say nothing. So, sowing that seed is really great.

“working with create has been like a breath of fresh air.”

“My experience of working with Create has been entirely positive. It’s been amazing to have this person coming in with lots of skills. As an occupational therapist, it’s quite difficult to find nice quality equipment and nice materials to use, but [Create] come in and it’s all ready-made. They’ve got all the skills and the interest and it’s much easier for them to motivate the kids because they’re so good at doing what they’re doing. So, it’s been amazing, it’s just like a breath of fresh air.”

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