07 Jul 2021
Is it truly possible to overcome mental health disorders such as depression by indulging in a tranquil session of arts and crafts? Research has presented a positive correlation between art therapy (including drawing, modelling clay and collaging) and reducing stress hormones such as Cortisol (Science Daily) or increasing the release of dopamine.
Here at Magic life, we intend to aid those in need by not only providing our service users with supported living but also making their experiences just that little bit more memorable through arranging activities for them, specifically to boost their mental health.
We assist a wide range of people, from those with autism to those with eating disorders, therefore we decided to create a hypothesis testing to see whether our service users found art therapy beneficial.
Since the weather has been warm recently, a lot of our service users have been going to the beach, so we put them up to the challenge of collecting pebbles and painting them (those who weren’t able to go had a member of staff collecting pebbles for them so they could still join in the fun!). While this may seem like a mundane task to most of us, our service users thoroughly thrived in completing the activity and dived their heads straight into a stress-relieving realm. The feedback we received was incredible! The majority described their experience as making them feel much calmer, lowering anxiety levels. An article by the mental health foundation found that it can also help create a sense of community through “rebuilding their social connections and increasing interactions between residents and staff”. Some of our service users may have used this activity as a method of expressing their emotions, especially if it may be difficult for them to verbalize how they feel, so instead utilized it to their advantage, possibly without realizing it. For example, creating art may help people acknowledge feelings that were bubbling inside ready to explode violently, but alternatively have been projected in a much more healthy procedure.
However, like with all techniques, art therapy may not work for everybody or work as well as a more formal type of situation. It could increase anxiety levels, for instance, if one may feel they aren’t good at art, then get pressured to proceed, the consequences could be a panic attack or lowered self-esteem, making art therapy a barrier to participation. For this reason, we must make sure to gain their full consent to take part as well as confirming they are comfortable involving themselves. Furthermore, some may not be physically able to take part, having severe mental or physical disabilities could be a hurdle in contribution, making this approach impossible to generalize to every person in need.
Nevertheless, the research that has been done, including first hand from our service users (from painting pebbles to carving pumpkins), can outweigh the possible negatives of art therapy, so it has been concluded to be an effective system of reducing the stress that can derive from mental health issues.