No Rules, Just Tools: ‘Art Journaling’ For Wellbeing at Veterans Outreach Support 🎨

Our art journalers are wrapping up their creative projects this weekend!

Since January, Veterans Outreach Support has hosted a fantastic 6-part Art Journaling workshop series by Deborah Porter from Core Art Journaling. 10 members of the VOS community got into the creative spirit, each one tapping into their artistic side and enjoying the wellbeing benefits of the process. Creative wellbeing courses like art journaling have been used to help members of our veteran community explore and process their thoughts and feelings visually through what Deborah calls “the power of creative recovery!”

Read on for an inside look at what this workshop series involved:

What Is Art Journaling?

Here are some of the journals made by VOS' own local veterans and their partners.
Here are some of the journals made by VOS’ own local veterans and their partners.

Art Journaling is for everyone, with or without any art skills. It can become part of your personal wellbeing toolbox by helping you to process stress and anxiety, because it gives you an opportunity to explore those feelings without judgement and experience the joy of being creative. It’s a great opportunity for you to focus on YOU in a safe space for self care, and for you to enjoy the empowerment that comes from progressing through a creative project.

Art Journaling is a fantastic mental health tool that is often used alongside counselling or clinical therapy (we at VOS can help you access both as well, so do reach out in times of need). It’s a way for people to creatively express ideas, thoughts, feelings, memories and emotions through art- giving them creative tools to process and help build their own emotional resilience. There are NO RULES. It’s a personal journey and you can create whatever you like, however you like.

Benefits of Art Journaling:

  • Allows you to process your feelings and thoughts.
  • You record your life and what is going on over time.
  • Can relieve anxiety and stress.
  • Environmentally friendly – up cycling old books giving them a new purpose.
  • It allows you to be authentic and creative.
  • It’s fun!

Below is a video of workshop instructor Deborah’s own art journaling in action. We are so pleased that VOS participants were able to try it out.


What People Thought About *Art Journaling* for Mental Health Support

Local veterans and spouses do an art journaling workshop for wellbeing and mental health at the Royal Maritime Club in Portsmouth.

“Making the effort to dedicate one morning of a week to myself and my well-being has a huge positive impact and my family’s daily life,” one participant shared. “The group is brilliant, as is the facilitator.”

“A relaxing morning spent freely exploring with acrylics, paper techniques, collage, painting and drawing to music, encouraging self expression and creativity” shared another participant on a workshop day. “Our journals are filling up with our colourful creations.”

“Weekends are facilitating art journaling for well-being with @veteransoutreachsupport in Portsmouth,” shared instructor Deborah. “So happy to find out that some participants have been art journaling money issues using all those pesky loan fliers that have been coming through the door, telling me how cathartic it is being for them.”

“Debs was a great leader, allowing everyone to move at their own pace whilst gently moving through the process,” said VOS CEO Ian Millen. “After just one session, everyone had made a great start on their journal. We are looking forward to what the next session brings this coming Saturday.”

The final part of this workshop will see our team of 10 art journalers come together once more on Saturday, 11th of March. If you’re interested in giving art journaling a try, let us know and we will invest in more of these kinds of workshops in the future! If you missed this series and would love another chance to get creative with our friendly group of veterans/veterans’ partners, check out some of the other great wellbeing activities we’ve got scheduled here.


If you’re a veteran from the UK Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy (from any time of service) or a partner to one, VOS would love for you to join our community. We are here to offer our support: call us on 02392 731 767, visit an upcoming drop-in, or email

VOS is immensely grateful to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, as without their support and funding we would not be able to provide our wellbeing activities.

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