How Art Can Help Improve Mental Health

Art has been around for thousands of years, however, the term ‘Art Therapy’ is a more recent idea. The term was invented back in 1942 by a British Artist, Adrian Hill, who was at the time recovering from tuberculosis and discovered the healthy benefits painting and drawing had. 

As we came into the 20th Century and right up to today, the value of Arts in mental health started to become more and more recognised. 

Art, whether it be creating something of your own or viewing others’ art, is known to help people explore their emotions, deal with stress, boost their self-esteem and help work on their social skills. 

Some of the situations and conditions in which art therapy has been used in include:

  • Anxiety and helping people who are experiencing severe stress. 
  • Children/Adults who have experienced traumatic events.
  • People who are suffering with depression, eating disorders, medical conditions, PTSD.
  • Children who are suffering from behavioural or social problems, either at school or at home. 

4 reasons why Art is good for your Mental Health

  1. Relives Stress – by engaging yourself with Drawing or Painting, this provides a distraction, which allows you to take your mind of what was stressing you out. This then allows you to calm down and think more clearly. 
  2. Boost Self-Esteem – by hanging or displaying your artwork somewhere can boost self-esteem and give a sense of accomplishment. The artwork does not have to be absolutely perfect in order to obtain these feelings, it is important to express yourself.
  3. Encourages Creative Thinking – With Art there is no right or wrong. Instead, you can create something unique of your own which stimulates the brain. The process of creating and creative thinking allows you to be innovative and come up with unique ideas/solutions, which can help in our everyday lives.  
  4. Improves Quality of Life – Art has been known to enhance factors, such as memory and cognitive abilities, as it encourages functioning of the whole brain, and can also improve social behaviour and self-esteem. 

Artist Gina Loves Personal Story.

Artist Gina Love has discovered art as her lifelong coping mechanism to deal with mental health. Watch the video below to learn more about Gina’s personal journey. 

2 Responses

  1. As a professional artist and long term sufferer of OCD, stress and anxiety I can assure you that when art is your business, your livelihood, it can be very detrimental to mental health. And just look back through art history and the number of breakdowns and suicides to recognise that art, on a serious level, is not always therapeutic. For many though I am sure it is.

    1. Thank you Stephen for sharing your experience and observations, I’m sure many will relate to them, at some level at least. Financial pressure, negative perceptions, uncertainty etc can make the present moment very painful and bleak, especially so for those of us with pre-existing conditions. These past 12 months have been exceptionally difficult but we are here today and there’s hope for tomorrow. We all need the help and support of each other, thanks again for speaking up.

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