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Former patient puts on art display to highlight challenges in mental health

Spending the day strapped to a hospital bed in Spain was not what Julie Bagwash had in mind for her fortieth birthday.

Now, five years later, Julie is reconstructing her experience as part of an art project for The Retreat in York – a specialist mental health provider.

Julie, 45, of York, is using her art to highlight her story and tell people how her special treatment at The Retreat helped her find hope.

Five years on, she now realises how inhumane the treatment she received in Palma actually was and wants to prevent it happening to anyone else.

“The Retreat programme taught me that I had the power to do what I want with my life, so I’ve changed me life. On the therapeutic programme at The Retreat, I was actively encouraged to take responsibility for my life and my actions,” she said.

Julie has just finished the second year of a BA degree in fine art at York St John University and will be displaying some of her work at The Retreat in September. She is currently creating an “Installation” which depicts her experience in the Palma hospital.

“I wanted to give something back to The Retreat for what they have done for me. I have only praise for the programme which totally changed my life and changed the way I live and think.

“I still struggle everyday, but due to what I learnt on the Acorn programme, nine times out of ten I can use coping strategies to divert a crisis.”