Testimonials from our Arts Therapy Service, 2016-17

Below are a sample of our testimonials from the first year of our Arts Therapy Service for Anxiety and Depression, funded by a National Lottery Awards for All grant and a donation from Devon Community Foundation.  We worked with 30 young people, between the ages of 10 and 23, providing over 230 arts therapy hours.






Ruth, age 14 (name and photo changed to protect confidentiality).



Please tell me about your experience of coming here.

“I found it a very relaxing course.  It’s nice and organised in here.”

Is there anything that particularly helped?

“I liked the thing with the buttons (using small objects to make pictures) – it helped me think about how I viewed things and how to make them better.”

Do you have any advice for other young people who are thinking of coming along?

“I would advise people to come.  I am a bit happier.  I would recommend it, it’s very relaxing and nice.”

Interview with Ruth’s Mum:

Do you have any feedback for us about the difference arts therapy has made for Ruth?

“She worked really hard and unhelpful coping mechanisms have faded away.  Her confidence has built up a lot, she has started up a small business selling her drawings.  We’re seeing a much happier, more creative Ruth.

I would absolutely recommend arts therapy.  It’s key strength is that it is not a word therapy.  Lots of creative ideas have stemmed from therapy.

It’s wonderful and valuable to have a space for young people to express and say the unsayable through art.  Unspeakable things have happened and this has been a space for her to say things without using words.  A space for Ruth that’s hers.”



Lauren, age 11 (name and photo changed to protect confidentiality).

Please tell me about your experience of coming here.

“It was nice and fun and I got to talk about feelings and it wasn’t hard for me to talk.”

Is there anything that particularly helped?

“All the little bits and bobs (different arts activities) and now I can sleep fine.”

Is there anything that did not help?

“No – it was all my favourite things.”

Would you recommend this service to other young people?

“I would, yeah.”

Do you have any advice for other young people who are thinking of coming along?

“It’s really, really fun and it’s nice to talk to someone you can trust.”

Is there anything else you would like to say?

“I really like having someone to talk to and everything was just fantastic.”

Interview with Lauren’s parent:

Do you have any feedback for us about the difference arts therapy has made for Lauren?

“The time she has had here has bolstered her and brought her to a position where she can consider moving on.  Being here has given her the tools to cope and think.

We are looking at a completely different Lauren.  She had very basic support from CAMHS, our child was needing help and was really not well.  Lauren’s teacher, who I saw on Friday who’d worked with her when she was distressed, struggling with friends and being bullied saw her again and said “It is like a new Lauren, we’ve got a Lauren who’s enthusiastic, interested, clever and funny.”

“Craig (Dramatherapist with YAHT) has given Lauren a skills set to get out of her negative cycle. Given her simple things to do at night.  She doesn’t need one to one (for behaviour support) anymore.

I can’t stress enough how absolutely vital this has been.  It’s been a godsend…This fills a gap and it’s a vital gap because it’s about saving children before they get to a really bad place.  And it’s wonderful to have Lauren back.

It’s been clever using the arts. We wouldn’t have been able to access any help if this hadn’t been funded. 16 weeks was a a good length of time and it has been wonderful.”


Other Testimonials


Advisory Panel member
for Youth Arts & Health Trust

Back in 2009,  I was only 16 when I found myself homeless. Suffering from a broken family, I was lost in a deep dark hole of depression and mental health. Dumped in and out of bed and breakfasts with no comforts or safety of a home. My life truly turned around when I met Laura and was invited along to join the Exeter Forum Theatre project – a drama group  open to people who were vulnerably housed and homeless and / or those suffering with mental health problems.

Drama was always my favourite subject at school and when hearing of the group I was really excited and eager to try it out. I was in a really bad position at the time, and my days had been slowly dragging by with nothing good, or positive to help get me through. When I went along to the drama sessions I felt I could open up and be myself. I didn’t feel isolated as I was surrounded by other people in my position, people who instead of judging could relate.

Best of all I was able to be part of something I had a passion for, and had fun expressing myself and finding my talents. We wrote an original show about youth homelessness and toured it around Devon. It brought something constructive and to look forward to in to my life at a time when I really needed it, and I’d felt that there was nothing else.

During my time doing the project I made lots of progress within my situation and self being. I’d helped create and perform the main character in a production to raise awareness for youth homelessness, where I was able to take some of what I’ve experienced and act it out in a play, which we then performed in front of other young people, around schools and youth clubs. I really felt positive, and part of something good in my life.

The drama workshop gave me positivity, structure and the willpower I needed to help get through the hard time in my life. I was able to find the confidence I needed to join a college course, and gain myself a room in a youth hostel, where I flourished, done well in college, passed my GCSE’s and finally moved on in to my own permanent home.

Drama helped me find my creativity, enabling me to view my life in a whole new positive perspective.

I won’t ever forget my time in the Exeter Forum Theatre project – how it really helped me get back on my path of life and travel further along then I ever thought I would.

Now 7 years later, I’m so excited about working with the Youth Arts & Health Trust and helping to run new projects with young people myself and see the difference it makes for others too.