NWAS and students share mental health message

Friday, 02 February, 2024


North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has teamed up with University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) illustration students to raise awareness of how important talking is when it comes to mental health and suicide prevention. 

The nineteen students who are studying illustration degrees have used their creative flare to produce artwork, as part of their Applied Illustration module, encouraging people to take small steps that could make a big difference when it comes to mental health.  

Their artwork is designed to demonstrate to people within Lancashire and the North West the importance of not being afraid to open up and have difficult conversations in support of positive mental health.  

Mental health conditions were in the top 10 reasons for 999 calls to NWAS over the past two winters, specifically the 18-30 age bracket – Lancashire being one of the areas with the greatest number of calls.  

The winter months can be a challenging time for many of us and our mental health. Shorter days resulting in less light, cold, and sometimes extreme weather can influence our mood and make it difficult to go about our daily lives. 

Lesley Jones, Head of Mental Health for NWAS, says; “We were really passionate about teaming up with the students and getting them on board with our winter messaging around mental health and the importance of opening up.  

“The reason for this is because we understand that mental health and the stark rise of people, particularly young people, impacted by mental health issues can have a real, detrimental impact on the wellbeing of local people today. 

“Many of the art designs focus on talking and opening up to somebody if you feel you are struggling with your mental health. It is one of the most basic pieces of advice in what is a positive step towards feeling better, but it can be a hard step to take for many.   

“It is hoped the artwork will resonate with many and signify hope and positivity - the art will be shared across NWAS’ social media channels in the coming weeks to raise awareness.”   

One of the students, Holly Gallagher, 23 from Skelmersdale, created a hand drawn series of three illustrations, she says: “The idea behind my work was to depict a journey through mental health showing in each illustration the thoughts of the person at that time. It shows how it can feel to be in a low state of mental health as well as showing suggestions for looking after your mental wellbeing. I think that art can capture attention and communicate messages because of how subjects like this can connect and resonate with people.” 

UCLan Course Leader, Maria Stuart, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for our year 2 illustration students to experience a live design brief working for a client. It has enabled students to develop their skills and confidence creating illustration for an important metal health project, they have been given great guidance and support by the NWAS team who have really helped them to build their knowledge of real world design projects.” 

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