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Alchemy Project

Dance as part of an integrated recovery model in early intervention in psychosis

What we do

The Alchemy Project helps young adults recover from psychosis through dance. The project delivered two intensive, four-week dance interventions in 2015 within the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Trust, culminating in two groups of 18 participants showing a professionally produced performance to an audience of stakeholders, family and friends.

The interventions have been independently evaluated by public health consultants Optimity Matrix, whose findings are due to be published in early 2016. All the signs are that the research is on track to demonstrate that the intervention delivers clinically significant results in the wellbeing of participants, specifically a 10 point increase in their Warwick- Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale scores. 

On average, around one in 100 people experience psychosis, according to the support group Rethink Mental Illness, and
eight out of 10 people have their first episode between the ages of 15 and 30. “Early intervention in psychosis can reduce
people’s need for other mental health services, like crisis care,” says Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink. “This can save the NHS more than £5,000 per person each year.”

The audience is stunned… People with vast experience in dance are sincerely impressed by the high-end artistic quality of the performance. Mental health professionals state that they have had their own preconceptions challenged, and cannot believe the quality of the dancing and final performance.

Dr Lauren Gavaghan, psychiatrist


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