19 Mental health art that help

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In this blog we provide you a list of mental health inspired art.

We will also briefly discuss what mental health is and whether art can help improve mental health. 

Mental health art

Mental health art refers to artwork that has been created to describe one’s mental health experience and mental health journey as well as to help create awareness about mental health. 

These artwork tend to either help an individual express their experiences with the visual aid of art or push a message across about self acceptance and self love in their journey of healing from a mental health condition. 

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This mental health art is an awareness creating mental health artwork that has been made to help bring awareness and end stigma. 

This art piece represents an individual experience of their mental health experience about what it is like to have a mental health condition that is isolation and exhausting at the same time because of what is going on in one’s mind. 

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This mental health artwork is about mental wellbeing and how one can work towards mental wellness through meditation and self love. It brings to attention that one’s neurobiology, while it could be the cause of the problem, need not be hated. Rather working to accept one’s self can be one step closer towards mental wellbeing. 

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This is a very personal mental health artwork that represents Borderline Personality disorder and the difficulty of being someone who has to live with this disorder. 

It represents the fracturing of the self that is observed in most personality disorders and how empty an individual feels when they have borderline personality disorder. 

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This visual representation of OCD depicts how a person is impacted by their obsessions and compulsions that pull them back or hold them back from progressing and engaging with life fully and fruitfully. 

It represents the anxiety and the dysfunction of not being able to be in the present or progress in one’s day to day life because of obsessions and compulsions.

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This artwork is a representation of what it is like to live with depression and other mood disorders where the person is in a perpetual state of gloom while also feeling like they are trapped in a room with no way out. It represents the gloom, hopelessness, and despair of living with depression.

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This artwork represents what it is like to live with social anxiety and anxiety in general where one is overwhelmed by assumptions and irrational beliefs. The art work is a reminder to a person to remain vigilant and not sudderender to negativity. 

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This beautiful image of self love, self compassion, and self acceptance is a mental health artwork that represents a milestone in one’s mental health journey of healing and wellbeing. 

The art reminds individuals that acceptance and self compassion for the parts of ourselves that are not perfect or that are not “normal” is an important step towards growing. 

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This intimate artwork represents rumination or overthinking that is often a major cause for distress in individuals with OCD, depression, anxiety and other mental disorders. This art represents the distress that overthinking causes and serves as a reminder to be present rather than stay overthinking. 

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This personal artwork represents a transition from a state or position of an unhealthy mental health state versus someone who has begun to develop a more positive state of mental health. 

This beautiful mental health art presents a picture of growth within one’s thoughts, percentions, beliefs that help the individual have a growth mindset rather than that of despair, self hatred, etc. 

What is mental health?

In very simple words, mental health refers to our overall cognitive, emotional, and behavioural wellbeing that is concerned with what we think, feel, and behave. 

Mental health is a crucial part of a person’s life as any disruption in their mental well-being can impact their daily lives, their relationships with other people, and also their occupational progress as well. 

Interestingly, this relationship between mental health and the various factors such as relationships, jobs, day to day activities is bi-directional meaning that such factors can be affected by our mental health and at the same time, these factors can affect our mental health. 

For example, stress at our jobs can impact mental health well-being and this negative state of mental health can impact our ability to handle work responsibilities thus adding more stress. 

Mental health is an important part of our overall health condition. It is a fundamental part of the way we think, feel, interact with each other, the way we live and enjoy life and it is more than just the absence of mental health illnesses. 

Can art help improve mental health?

Yes, art can help improve and maintain mental health. 

There have been plenty of studies and reviews that have been conducted regarding the use and efficacy of art and art therapy for the intervention of mental disorders as well as for improving mental health and resilience. 

In a review that explored “The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health”, researchers found that art-based interventions were effective in alleviating and reducing negative psychological and physiological symptoms. 

This review focuses on creative and expressive art activities strictly focused on adult participants in North America and Europe. These activities included: music engagement, visual arts therapy, movement-based creative expression, and expressive writing. 

A 2019 study explored the effectiveness of art therapy on adult women who were suffering from anxiety as an effort to bridge the gap in research and scientific evidence in the effectiveness of art therapy. 

Out of the 59 participants, 47 completed the entire tial and there was a significant reduction in anxiety in those who completed the trial. Along with the reduction in anxiety, the quality of life also improved as well as a positive state of emotional regulation and these positive effects also lasted for up to 3 months during the follow up period. 

The researchers also noted that along with emotional regulation there was also positive intention and effort towards goal oriented action and behaviours in the women which were related or linked to the reduced anxiety. 

Art interventions is seen to be effective even within populations related to terminal care and treatment of other illnesses in terms of alleviating anxiety, depression, and other issues related to the mental distress of undergoing treatment for major illnesses like cancer, 

A 2021 review explored the effect of art therapy on anxiety, depression, and quality of life in individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer and are being treated for it. 

The review of literature was conducted on studies that have been published between September 2009 up to September 2019 related to cancer patients and a total of 731 publications were assessed.

Out of the 731 publications, Seven papers met the inclusion criteria of the study and data was collected from these seven studies. Out of these seven studies four articles reported positive effects of art therapy on anxiety in adults with cancer.

The researchers concluded that art therapy could have some positive impact in decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression in adult cancer patients as well as improve their quality of life. However, the researchers stressed that more research is required in this regard. 

Although much research points to an affirmative position that art therapy or art interventions are very effective in treatment and reducing psychological symptoms of distress and illnesses, there is much research to be done in terms of how these interventions improve health overall and to what extent. 

Conclusion

In this blog we explored the question “Can art help improve mental health?”

We also briefly discussed what mental health is and what are some effective art activities one can do to improve and maintain positive mental health.

FAQ related to “Can art help improve mental health?”

Can art help with mental health?

Yes, art can help improve and maintain mental health. 

There have been plenty of studies and reviews that have been conducted regarding the use and efficacy of art and art therapy for the intervention of mental disorders as well as for improving mental health and resilience. 

Can art be used as therapy?

Yes. Art can be used in therapy as a therapeutic intervention. 

The process of art therapy does not require you to be gifted in artistic ability, rather it is a process of exploration without rights or wrongs; it simply teaches you to use creative outlets to support their own process of healing and learning without being hard on one’s self with judgement

What is art therapy in mental health?

According to the American Art Therapy Association (2013) Art therapy is, 

“…an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship.”

Thus, it can be understood as a field of therapy that combines both art and psychotherapy to help develop self awareness, explore emotions, and address unresolved issues through a creative process, 

How does art heal?

Art heals by creating a connection between mind and body. It forms mindful and intentional exercises where you are in a state of flow and mediation which lead to positive experiences, positive emotions, and even meaning which all adds to a positive mental health. 

What does art do to your brain?

According to research, the act of engaging in art or creating art enhances brain function. It influences change in brain waves and functioning related to emotions, creates new neural pathways, improves thinking and problem solving, as well as increases serotonin levels. 

References

Mead.E. 15 Art Therapy Activities, Exercises & Ideas for Children and Adults Positive psychology. 26th october, 2021. Retrieved on 19th November 2021. https://positivepsychology.com/art-therapy/

Stuckey HL, Nobel J. The connection between art, healing, and public health: a review of current literature. Am J Public Health. 2010;100(2):254-263. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2008.156497

Abbing A, Baars EW, de Sonneville L, Ponstein AS, Swaab H. The Effectiveness of Art Therapy for Anxiety in Adult Women: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Front Psychol. 2019 May 29;10:1203. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01203. PMID: 31191400; PMCID: PMC6549595.

Bosman, J.T., Bood, Z.M., Scherer-Rath, M. et al. The effects of art therapy on anxiety, depression, and quality of life in adults with cancer: a systematic literature review. Support Care Cancer 29, 2289–2298 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-020-05869-0

About Mental Health. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. 28th June, 2021. Retrieved on 11th feb 2022. . https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm

Mental health: strengthening our response. WHO. 30th March 2018. Retrieved on 11th feb 2022. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

Mental Health. APA Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved on 11th feb 2022. https://dictionary.apa.org/mental-health

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