Case Study: STAR

Case Study: STAR

Picture of Alan Lynch

BY: Alan Lynch
05 Sep 2018

STAR is the Arts Award centre for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust which provides specialist mental health, substance misuse, learning disability and prison healthcare services. This centre works primarily with art therapists who offer Arts Award to young people as an element of their art therapy intervention. Art therapy is a psychological therapy that uses art-making and talking as a means to address difficulties and bring about change. Art therapy is used widely within mental health services with children, young people and adults.

The art therapists primarily work within Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. These services provide specialist care and support to young people under the age of 18 suffering from emotional, behavioural or mental health problems.

The project was funded by the Arts Award Reaching Out programme and by Sussex Partnership and was delivered in partnership with Culture Shift, a Sussex based creative learning organisation and Arts Award training provider.Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Pic 2


Participants are introduced to Arts Award by their art therapist and offered the opportunity to work towards gaining a Bronze Arts Award as a part of their therapy. Different sections of the award were tackled in various ways for each participant. For some lots of work happened outside the sessions with the help of family, carers or support workers, for others the different elements were incorporated into the work with the therapist.

Photographs, films, writing and drawings were used to provide evidence for portfolios. Young people were encouraged and supported to look up artists on the internet or visit galleries. Sometimes their art therapist went with them on visits, other times a keyworker or carer.


Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Pic 1Young people have been positive about Arts Award. It has helped them build stronger relationships and helped their art therapist get to know them better. It helped them develop new elements of their identity, built their self-confidence and helped them engage better with their peers and carers. Achieving an Arts Award has been an important recognition of their work and allows them to leave therapy with a nationally recognised qualification.

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