Helen Shields

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
North & East Belfast

I studied Foundation Art at the Ulster Polytechnic at Jordanstown, then gained a Fine Art Degree at the University of Ulster at Belfast and then an Art Teachers Diploma at the University of Ulster at Jordanstown.

Rather than teaching in schools my early career saw me working in an art workshop in a Day Centre which catered for people with mental health problems and physical disability. This introduced to me the use of creative arts within the Health Service and continues to fulfil a need in me to work in a very person centred way. As my career has developed so has my interest and experience in working with art in health care settings. Working as a resident artist for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (formerly South and East Belfast Trust) has given me the opportunity to work in a flexible, creative, project based way with a wide range of different client groups, such as people who have acquired a brain injury, are living with dementia, mental illness or a physical or learning disability. Through engaging in art activities I continue to witness in people a positive development of their self- esteem and self- confidence, leading to a more positive mental and physical health and well-being.

It is extremely rewarding that through this enjoyable process one can facilitate a positive and often profound effect on the journey towards improved health.