Creativity and Mental Health

For me, creativity is a massive part of expressing my feelings when it comes to my mental health. Creating abstract representations of my disorders or how I feel allows me to release the negative thoughts and create something interesting in the process.


Hope (2015) 

mha designs

Mental Health Awareness Designs (2014)

I draw, paint, write – anything and everything! It’s the most therapeutic thing in the world; I can sit in complete silence and not have one thought pass through my head for hours when I have a paintbrush in my hand.

Does anybody else have any methods to relieve stress and negative feelings?

Mental Health Art

Just under a year ago in June 2014, I created this series of art work. The six images were each designed to depict a different mental illness or the symptoms associated with it; and they also mock some of the negative stigma that go hand-in-hand with suffering from these disorders.

I designed the series in black and red because for me, they’re the two boldest colours that there are. The black represents the illness, isolation, secrets and negativity that we face from the rest of the world; whilst the areas of red represent the glimpse of hope, which no matter how small is brighter and more predominant than the illness.

We need to stop shaking our heads and silently being at war with the uneducated comments we hear; we need to stop making peace with the idea that mental health issues aren’t as high priority as physical illness, and instead – we need to actively stand strong and fight for better.


I hope you like them, to view the rest of my art portfolio, click here.

Fast forward

For those of you that don’t know, I have cyclothymia amongst other things.

And today, just before my final exam everything seems just that little bit faster and sped up and I can’t slow anything down. It’s really bad timing, I don’t need it today – I need to be able to concentrate!!

As if these exams weren’t hard enough already.


Fast Forward, by Lauren Hayley (2014).

The reason for everything.

For those of you that follow me, you may or may not have seen this series of images down the side of my page. The six images each portray a stereotype or feature of a mental illness, and they were created by me in June 2014.

This morning, I got a ridiculous but lovely notification telling me I have 500 followers. Now it’s lovely because there are 500 people that I have never met kind enough to think what I have to say is interesting, but it’s equally ridiculous because there are 500 people that I have never met kind enough to think what I have to say is interesting.

But we all share something in common. You either follow me because you have a mental health disorder like me – or you work in Psyschology and find it interesting. Or you follow me because you like arts and crafts like me. Because that’s the other side of me, the arty creative person.

I’ve never posted these images before and actually told you what they’re all about – but as they encompass both mental health and art, I figured now would be a good time whilst we’re on the subject.

I originally created these images for a business which I never could afford to properly start. I was going to feature them on clothing. None of the awareness clothing on the market currently is particulary nice to look at or fashionable – ‘Fight the stigma’, ‘Bipolar awareness’, ‘Time to Change’ – and they’re a bit in-your-face, let’s be real. So what I wanted to create, was a subtle and artistic approach to something that’s been done many times before, allowing people to show their support whilst not having to display a dramatic slogan, if they didn’t wish to.

Some of the images were to mock stereotypes. We all know these stigmas are out there and that people use them. I’m sure those with mental disorders are called off balance, and we’re often labelled that we have a screw loose. This isn’t the case as you all hopefully know – or at least we’re not any more unbalanced than the rest of the population – but instead of feeling upset and getting annoyed by it (because don’t well all feel that way enough already), mock the ignorance. Mock the ideas put into the minds of people that are ‘normal’.

The other images interpret different disorders in unique and creative ways. C.D.O represents OCD, whilst Fast Forward demonstrates the feeling of being manic.

I liked the idea of taking different qualities or illnesses and presenting them in an abstract way. I liked the idea that you wouldn’t look at the image as an outsider and know instantly what the image was about, and wouldn’t know what it was trying to say to you. I liked that this would then make you ask questions, inevitably getting you to talk to people about the disorders that you’re representing.

I liked the way that for once the images weren’t all serious, some were slightly controversial and taking the piss out of ourselves. Because life is too serious already. And I liked the idea that people would maybe want to unite and finally make mental health disorders OK.

Because they are OK.