Art can help us understand mental health in various ways and is often used by individuals as a visual representation of how they feel, but how so? and how does this help?
With art being the most creative of outlets people often channel all their deeper emotions and outlooks into a physical manifestation such as a painting or song and by doing this our brain is being stimulated by what we are creating. Art great way to lower your overall stress levels and make you feel much better mentally. As it provides a distraction that will give your brain a much-needed break from all of your usual ways of thinking. Creative thinking is also encouraged as unlike a subject like science, there is no wrong answer therefore we dont feel the need to refine art in a certain way, creating a completely original creation. This creativity can help us counteract problems we face by helping us think of pro-active solutions to the problem at hand. Art has been shown to enhance factors such as memory and cognitive abilities, especially in those who suffer from serious mental disorders such as dementia. Drug treatments usually dont work well on these patients however, creating art provides a great sense of pleasure. This is has been shown to greatly improve their self-esteem and social behavior, as well as reduce several issues associated with their disorder. A number of studies have also found that writing, in particular, can help people to overcome trauma and manage negative emotions. Expressionism as a form of healing isn't a new idea either, many famous artists have clearly been inspired into creating art from their emotions for example the famous "the scream" painting by Edvard Munch in 1893. "Madness is the modern condition in this work of art that has the clarity of a theorem." says Munch showing that in his theory the Scream is universal. This is how life today makes us feel, the desire to scream out in pain under a wobbly sky is a sane response to an insane world. This shows that art being a coping and healing technique isnt some new, alternative idea but one of reliability and one backed up with proof.
When mode held project T20 the young people there acted upon this theory by creating various forms of art, whether that was audio or visual to help express inner emotions and was met with overwhelming success. The feedback from the young people was amazing as they bonded and opened up to one another about the benefits they had reaped from making the art and how their creations were personal to them. One activity was to create a painting and collage it with words to describe you and your emotions which was a success as the participants really showed another side to themselves and positively affected any unwanted and unpleasant emotions.