November 2018 AveNews

Rachel Blair Mental Health, Newsletter

Art Makes An Impact On Mental Health 
“There are youth at Brooklyn Avenues that are very loyal to the arts program. They will come to me and ask if can we paint. This is their way of coming to group therapy,” Lindsay Strong, an Avenues mental health intern, explained.
This summer Avenues started an arts program at both shelters to create an outlet for youth expression and emotion. The program focuses on four modes of art -painting, photography, acting and music. The classes have unintentionally served as a form of art therapy for several of the youth.
“The youth have a huge stigma about seeing a therapist. Calling it therapy doesn’t work – they won’t come. The art classes work because it’s fun for the youth and the therapeutic part happens on accident,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay that she’s seen a huge impact on youth in the program. She sees their self-esteem being built up and youth coming out of their shells, especially in the acting classes. Youth at Brooklyn Avenues are using art as a way of welcoming new house members to the group. It’s been so successful that Lindsay connected with a retired art therapist to get their old supplies for the shelters.
“There’s something about being creative that allows us to think differently about our situations, the way we’re living, and the hard stuff. It opens up a different perspective without doing it on purpose,” Lindsay said.