Wellbeing Project

Islington Health Centre Combats Staff Burn-Out Through Art Project

River Place Health Centre, part of Whittington Health NHS Trust, has partnered with The Hackney Mosaic Project to unveil a stunning mosaic created and designed to promote staff mental wellbeing. The health centre is home to a GP practice and runs Whittington Trust services such as Podiatry, Respiratory, and phlebotomy. The project has been supporting staff with ongoing wellbeing sessions to help combat the stress and burnout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing pressures of the NHS.

The mosaic

The mosaic, inspired by local wildlife, fauna, and flora, took months to make and was created by staff at the centre during these wellbeing sessions. GP Dr Sophy Wollaston, who is passionate about wellbeing and mental health, was instrumental in bringing this project to life.

Sophy said, "Our staff have had a hard time in recent years with the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing pressures. It is important to look after the people who look after others. The mosaic workshops were stimulating, sociable, and led to a great sense of togetherness.”

Research shows that creating art and being creative can activate reward pathways in the brain, lower anxiety, and improve mood. Staff found the process to be a welcome form of mindfulness, reducing stress and anxiety one piece at a time.

The Hackney Mosaic Project designed the mosaic and led the workshops, which took place over several months at the start of 2023. Staff often opted to use their lunch breaks and time after work to piece the mosaic together, resulting in a beautiful and meaningful work of art.

The inspiration for the design comes from the New River Walk, which runs behind the health centre. The mosaic features local trees and wildlife, a river, black cats to represent Whittington Health, and urban foxes to represent the local wildlife. The mosaic can be seen on the front of the building on Essex Road.

The River Place Health Centre's staff wellbeing programme continues, and they are looking forward to doing another art project in the future.

Practice manager Dr David Currie said, "Even those who didn’t feel they were particularly artistic enjoyed the process, and it was wonderful to see the whole design taking shape. It brought the centre together in a new way, and we were proud of the part we all played in creating the finished piece of artwork."

The mosaic is a metaphor for the individual contributions that combine to create a successful and cohesive primary care team. The Hackney Mosaic Project recognises that making mosaics from broken fragments of glass can help those in recovery rebuild their broken lives. The River Place Health Centre mosaic is not only a beautiful work of art, but it also represents the resilience and strength of the staff who created it.

Published: May 31, 2023