Behind the Mask is a creative peer support and well-being project that seeks to give local women the time and space over a 12 month period to talk openly about the factors that impact their on quality of life. For some, there may be cultural and / or societal pressures within their respective communities. For others, it may be the lack of educational / employment opportunities. Some group members struggle with a long-term health condition; some are full-time carers; some live with the long-term effects of the negative experience of school life.

Most of the women live with depression and / or anxiety.

The creative sessions take place weekly at Women Centre, Calderdale in Halifax … and combine various art forms including visual art, singing, creative writing and breath and movement exercises.

Behind the Mask is part of our 3-year intercultural creative project supported by Big Lottery Fund and Community Foundation for Calderdale.

Here is an example of the women’s writing which we think helps to articulate their sense of ‘entrapment’ … and their struggle to break free:

I’m ‘struggling’ …

I’m ‘struggling’ … Letting go
I’m ‘struggling … Letting go of past pain that clings to my soul.
It eats away at my energy,
And stops me feeling whole.

Self doubt, insecurity has become my best friend.
I struggle with everything.
Waking up in the morning,
Finding my place in the world,
Confidence, taking off my mask.

I’m ‘STRUGGLING’
I’m struggling to let go of those painful memories,
The shattered dreams,
Broken hopes and broken trusts.

I’m ‘struggling’ to sleep … To let go
Of the past,
The feelings of hurt,
Voices in my head.
Struggling with the pain …
I’m ‘STRUGGLING’.

A beautiful, moving and honest piece of writing.

Thanks to funders Big Lottery Fund Community Foundation for Calderdale and partners Square Chapel Arts Centre Project 1325WomenCentre Home-Start Calderdale Beech Hill Primary School

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