Rennie backs innovative mental health art programs

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie has today joined artist Drew Walker to show his support for his work to destigmatise mental health issues and promote the benefits that a creative outlet can offer.

Mr Walker was launching a new 'postcards to politicians and psychiatrists' campaign to raise awareness of the Gugging process; pioneering Austrian mental health work that seeks to destigmatise mental illness and stimulate social-integration through art, whilst maintaining good health.

Mr Walker's work involves engaging with a range of artists, patients with mental health issues, medical practitioners and academics and he is currently developing a pilot program for Fife Council for creative activity and community, exploring how aspects of Gugging’s process could benefit vulnerable clients, carers and family.

Mr Rennie said:

"I'm very impressed with the work that Drew Walker has done to promote mental health awareness and the benefits that a creative outlet can offer. I hope that it encourages more people to speak openly about the issue and seek treatment if they need it.

"Grassroots mental health projects provide vital support to people in need and its important to recognise the important role that they play.

"I will be following his pioneering Gugging work with interest."

Drew Walker said:

"I am an artist. I have OCD and Asperger Syndrome. 6 years ago I had nothing in my life but now I do.

"Networking, international collaboration and sharing have been vital to my health, personal development, research practice and art-making, forming the DNA of my methodology.

"I believe that integrating Gugging's ideas into the wider solutions for mental health treatment and recovery for Scottish people could have major benefits."

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