What is Mental Illness?
Mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s feeling, mood, or thinking. These conditions also affect a person’s ability to be able to relate to others and function every day.
A mental health condition typically isn’t the result of one single event. Research suggests multiple, linking causes. Environment, lifestyle, and genetics influence whether someone has a mental health condition. Stressful home life or job makes some people more susceptible to mental illness. Traumatic life events such as being the victim of crime also add to the burden.
Challenges of Mental Illness
Social interaction: A big challenge is reacting in a way that is considered to be socially acceptable, such as not getting impatient, angry, or annoyed. Overcoming anxiety and fear when dealing with new people is also a challenge.
Shame and guilt: Some blame themselves for not being able to handle everything better and are ashamed of their actions and behaviors.
Making themselves a priority: When one becomes complacent and stops their regular activities it almost guarantees a mood change. So they need to make themselves a priority.
Reaching out: Working hard at managing symptoms and knowing when to reach out for help can be challenging.
Identifying feelings and moods: A big challenge is not knowing if how a patient is feeling is related to their illness or just a part of life.
Maintaining proper routines: It’s easy to come up with a reason not to walk the dog, cook dinner, or exercise. And, some with mental illness have to really work at maintaining their positive habits.
Living up to expectations: The pressure of being everything one needs to be—a mother, partner, good employee and constructive work colleague—can be overwhelming.
The unidentified hurdles: For some, one of the biggest hurdles is waking up and not knowing what the day will be like. Not knowing how to handle daily triggers also adds to the dilemma.
Art Therapy for Mental Illness
This type of therapy originally came about when medical professionals found out something. They discovered that patients who have mental health issues often communicated their emotions through art. It later progressed into a healing strategy. Today, it is even used in mental health evaluations.
Art therapy is used with individuals of all ages. It is also utilized in a variety of facilities. These include healthcare facilities, community centers, schools, and hospitals. Art therapists use different methods with patients, such as painting or drawing.
However, art therapy is not merely an art class. Those who participate will also focus on their inner experiences and feelings.
Practically anyone can enjoy the benefits of producing art. But art therapy can be of particular help to individuals with a history of:
- Emotional trauma
- Severe stress
- Mental or physical abuse or violence
- Behavioral problems
- Brain injuries
Benefits of Art Therapy for Mental Illness
Art therapy can be used to supplement traditional mental health treatment. Its aim is to process feelings, reduce anxiety, increase self-esteem, and manage behaviors.
Self-discovery: The creation of art can help patients recognize feelings that may have been hiding in their subconscious.
Self-esteem: Art therapy will give patients a feeling of self-accomplishment. This can be valuable in improving their confidence and self-appreciation.
Emotional release: The greatest benefit of art therapy is giving patients a healthy outlet for expressing their fears. Complicated emotions such as sadness sometimes cannot be expressed with words.
Stress relief: Fighting depression, emotional trauma, or anxiety can be both physically and mentally stressful. Art therapy can be used to relieve stress and relax the body and mind.