Thoughtful NHS staff in Gateshead have created a ‘tree of hope’ mural – designed to provide words of support and encouragement for patients and their loved ones.
The ‘Tree of Hope’ has been painted on the wall of the visitors’ room in the Sunniside and Cragside unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Sunniside and Cragside are acute mental health inpatient wards. Sunniside is a mixed-sex inpatient older person’s mental health ward, looking after people with functional mental health issues, such as bipolar, schizophrenia, depression. Cragside ward is an inpatient dementia assessment and treatment unit
One of the unique features of the mural is the individual paper leaves on the tree which are removable. People can write what hope means to them on the leaf and add it back to the tree. The vision is that the tree will develop and be added to over the coming months and years, to truly capture the sense of hope on the ward.
The patients, as well as their families and loved ones, are encouraged to post messages about their treatment journey and how they have found their time on the wards. Many patients also use the tree to post a comment when they come to be discharged and go home – which in turn encourages others.
Natalie Brown, psychological support worker, says: “We’re always looking for creative ways to support our mental health patients and this is a good way to ensure that patients are more involved with their treatment and recovery. The tree symbolises the importance of having hope and motivation and has allowed us to help empower patients and their families.
“We’ve had some really lovely, inspiring messages that not only give our patients a sense of encouragement but are a source of inspiration for our staff.”