Art on the buses highlights mental health for National Express Coventry passengers​

A visiting artist supported Coventry’s mental health festival by creating charcoal drawings and leaving them for ​National Express Coventry passengers to enjoy.

Liz Atkin uses her art to cope with Compulsive Skin Picking Disorder and to make others aware of the condition that she has suffered from for over 25 years.

​She started sketching in a book - and when she ran out of space she used free newspapers on the seat next to her.

​Each drawing takes about a minute to create and she has given away over 15,000 in places around the world, including New York and Singapore.​

The latest passengers to enjoy her art were on a round-trip with ​National Express Coventry, from Pool Meadow to the Caludon Centre – which provides inpatient and outpatient adult mental health care based close to  University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire. Liz was visiting the city as part of ‘Scratch the Surface – DIALOGUE’, a two-week mental health arts festival held at venues around ​Coventry​​.

​Liz said: ​"​I realised that for every drawing, this was a moment of connection, of advocacy for mental health, and a chance to let others know I am drawing because of Compulsive Skin Picking.

​"​I feel the flicker of someone's eyes looking at me drawing, the initial curiosity - and that's all I need for me to pass a postcard to them explaining why I'm drawing before handing them the completed drawing and starting another one.​"​

​Madi Pilgrim, National Express UK HR Director, said: "It was a pleasure to have Liz travelling with us this week. She is a brilliant advocate for mental health and the way she uses art to stimulate awareness amongst our passengers was really interesting.

​"Mental health in the workplace, this year's theme for World Mental Health Day, is extremely important to National Express, which is why one of the many support tools we offer is​ an employee assistance line that gives our employees 24/7 access to free ​confidential ​counselling and information."

Published 10th October 2017