A SERIES of paintings which have been created by people who have experienced mental illness have been put on display to the public.

The Linden Centre in Chelmsford has been brightened up thanks to the artwork which has been produced by Rethink Mental Illness Braintree Arts and Social Group.

Eight canvases painted by members have been put up in and around the centre, which is a mental health facility run by the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (Eput)

Some of the creations, which include colourful fish and Japanese-inspired scenes, are displayed on the walls inside while others have been hung outside to decorate a small garden space.

Trina Whittaker, who founded the Braintree group with the help of the Rethink Mental Illness charity, said: "Many members of the group have spent time in mental health facilities across Essex and wanted to give something back. They decided the paintings should be peaceful and calming.

"The group is like a big family. They help each other and want to do what they can to help other people experiencing difficulty. I’m proud of each and every one of them."

Ms Whittaker set up the group having cared for a family member with mental health needs in the past.

She found art was an important therapy for her relative and decided to set up a group for people with mental health needs to allow them the chance to benefit from getting creative.

Having been impressed by the quality of work produced by the 30 group members in recent months, Ms Whittaker and volunteer Alan Rutland offered some of the work to bosses at the Linden Centre who gratefully accepted the donation.

Eput's chief exec Andy Brogan said: "I would like to thank Re-think Mental Illness for their kind donation to the Linden Centre. It is clear to see that a lot of time, thought and effort has gone into creating artwork which can now be enjoyed by patients and visitors to the centre.

"Patients who come to us there are experiencing mental health difficulties, so it is particularly fitting that the canvases have been created by talented artists who have been able to channel their experience of mental ill health into producing beautiful art."

An additional two paintings are expected to be added to the collection at the centre in the coming weeks.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the Re-think Mental Illness Braintree Arts and Social Group should contact 01376 349549.