Art and Mental Health

 In our daily life filled with stress and tension, art can be a great source of comfort to our minds. “Creative Therapy” has the power to heal the mind and has a positive impact on mental health. Any form of art, especially drawing, painting and sculpting is considered to be a therapeutic practice. Its benefits on mental well-being can be traced from the psychological theories by Adrian Hill, Edward Adamson, and Donald Winnicott.

“Art as Healing”

Artist Edward Adamson, also known as the father of art therapy in Britain, has written the book “Art as Healing”. It highlights his findings on the positive impact of art in healing the patients suffering from mental illnesses. He worked on his idea of “art therapy” in the psychiatric hospital in Netherne and with the patients in his studio in West London. He collected the artworks produced in these sessions, which is known as the Adamson Collection. 

 According to him, art is not simply a form of occupation or art therapy to distract or absorb, but a dynamic and unique aid to the patient’s recovery. He believes that mental illness is a breakdown of personality and art is one of the expressions of a human being’s personality. The patient can achieve harmony through the art forms. 

Art is a way of expressing ideas of a personality. There are three major benefits of using art as the healing process for those suffering from mental illness. Firstly, the patient feels relief when their ideas are expressed through art. Secondly, they can externalise and examine their ideas. Thirdly, the doctor gets a permanent record of the state of mind of the patient at that moment. The patient’s subconscious mind gets displayed through the painting.  

Art for mental well-being

Involving in any form of art brings peace and joy to the mind. It acts as the "food for our soul". Another benefit of art is that it has the capability to calm our mind. It helps us to cope up with the day-to- day stress. It can be a fun as well as productive activity to do in leisure time or to take a break from work and a busy schedule. 

Participating in any form of art gives us a sense of purpose and achievement. It helps immensely to boost self esteem. Not only does art calm the mind, but it also helps us to grow it creatively. Art improves the skills of the brain like learning, focusing, memorising, problem solving, patience and concentration. While painting, the obstacles faced are tackled by finding creative solutions. It enhances the creative thinking skills of our brain. 

As a child, most of the people are involved in some form of art, be it drawing, painting, sculpture or anything else. But gradually as we grow old we tend to leave it behind, ignoring the numerous psychological benefits and mental positivity it offers. Art is a great exercise that can strengthen,  calm and heal our mind. 

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