The Only National Awards For Non-Medical / Non-Clinical NHS Staff & Volunteers

Creative Outlets for Mental Health with START

9th December 2019
Photo: START’s Facebook page


Over the years there has been more mental health awareness than ever with days like ‘Mental Health Awareness Day’ (10th October) where people come forward and share their story of their struggles with bad mental health. Famous individuals like Jameela Jamil and Stephen Fry have also been using their platform to advocate for mental health awareness and get the conversation going.

According to the mental health charity, Mind, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year with 1 in 6 people reporting to experience a common mental health problem such as anxiety or depression each week. Additionally, Mind says that 1 in 8 people are currently receiving treatment with medication reported as the most common type of treatment.

It’s so important to acknowledge the amazing work both the medical and non-medical NHS staff do in caring for our mental health, whether it’s medication or therapy. However, one of the ways in which people have found effective in coping with their mental health is through finding a creative outlet and one Salford-based charity that allows them to do so is START.

START inspiring minds
Photo: START Facebook


START is an amazing organisation that promotes emotional wellbeing and recovery by providing creative activities such as photography, music, creative writing and much more to help people who may be experiencing mental health difficulties or social exclusion.

Their goal is to help with people’s confidence and self-esteem and help them tackle difficult social challenges they may face by nurturing their creative talents and helping them find their outlet and express themselves in a safe place.

Many who have attended have praised START for their service and how much it has helped them cope.

One user wrote on their Facebook page: “This place is amazing! START helped me get on the road of recovery and now I am holding my own classes! Our thoughts do not define us, it’s what we do that counts.”

Another user wrote about their time there: “They have helped me to find a sense of purpose and wellbeing in my life. I have enjoyed gardening, art and music classes. I would not have recovered if it wasn’t for their kind support. Thank you.”

Examples of Artwork from START


It’s clear this charity has been making a huge difference to people’s lives and proves how much creativity and expressing yourself through any kind of art is good for your mind. It just goes to show you how many other Unsung Heroes are around us that are helping to make the community a better place and how we can also be our own Unsung Hero.

For our next Unsung Hero Awards in 2020, START are designing our very own Manchester Bee, which will be officially unveiled at the awards, and they have spent the last few weeks working tirelessly to make something really beautiful and inspiring that also represents what the awards are all about.

Jeni Sadler, Photography Co-Ordinator for START said: “The Start artists involved in designing the bee are buzzing with excitement, we can’t wait to see it finished and on show to celebrate all those unsung heroes of the NHS at the Award Ceremony.”

One of START’s workshops


You can check out more updates and progress about the Bee and more about START from our social media and if you want to see the unveiling yourself at the awards, click here to get your ticket. Don’t forget to also check out our shortlist of nominees.

If you or anyone else you know are struggling with mental health, make an appointment with your GP or alternatively there are also these charities you can reach out to and remember you aren’t alone:







Lily Harrison, Social Media Intern at Unsung Hero Awards