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Start Mc

Visit the start2 Online Resource

Start Mc Gallery

"Start has made me more confident in that Iím able to tell people Iím actually on a course, doing painting etc: itís a good conversation point. It makes you proud that youíre doing something."

Welcome to Start, part of Creative Wellbeing, in the Recovery Pathways care group, and part of Manchester Mental Health and Social Care NHS Trust.


Start is an arts-based mental health service, established in 1986. The service works with people who are experiencing severe and enduring mental ill-health. Start helps its students (patients /service users attending the service) to rediscover or learn new skills, rebuild identity and confidence, acquire effective recovery strategies, and move forward into futures that have more choice and more quality of life.


Our team of artists works with an Occupational Therapist to deliver a structured, evidence-based and personalized programme of wellbeing arts activities to our students. The specific methods of the Start model enable students attending the service to experience the powerful therapeutic benefits art can bring to mental health and wellbeing. We would describe such benefits as intrinsic (art enjoyed for its own sake) and instrumental (the skills, outlooks, knowledge, insights and potentials stimulated by focused experiences in creative wellbeing arts).


Our service is mainly studio-based (we have four studios at our base in Hulme, Manchester), and we also work in community, cultural and educational settings from time to time.


Some of the activities we offer are

  • Ceramics
  • Textiles
  • Drawing and painting
  • Mixed media/ mosaic
  • Photography
  • Creative Writing
  • Art appreciation and gallery visits
  • Mindfulness


Start exhibits in local cultural spaces, and lectures on and provides training in its model of working.


Start is a referral only service for secondary care patients/ service users who attend citywide from across the Trust’s catchment area. We have an online service, Start2, free and available to everyone, situated at

About Start In the Studios Courses Exhibitions, commissions and partnerships Publications and Resources User Stories Contact