Painting flowers, making paper mache animals or drawing a stick figure family can be a fun hobby, but did you know it can also help improve your mental health?
COVID 19 & the Pandemic
Due to the pandemic, many people have begun to experience anxiety and depression or have had their mental illnesses worsen. Especially for young minds, not being able to see friends, play outdoors on the playground or even visit their grandparents, the pandemic has been detrimental in the lives of our country’s youth.
How have these kids been affected? According to a study that asked parents to assess their children’s behavior and how it changed during quarantine, 85.7% reported a change with the most frequent changes being difficulty concentrating, boredom, irritability, restlessness, nervousness, loneliness, uneasiness and worries.
On top of simply being a child during this pandemic, imagine a youth who is living in a strange home, not allowed to see friends or family, and may have already had some behavioral difficulties from the start – how are those children faring?
While it’s difficult to know since specific studies have not yet been conducted to see how the pandemic has affected foster youth, it’s estimated that nearly 80% of the children and young adults in foster care suffer from a significant mental health issue.
The types of mental illnesses that are prevalent are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, and drug / alcohol abuse. These illnesses aren’t just affecting the teens in the foster system, but those six and under as well.
So what can you do?
Arts & Mental Health
The benefits of the arts for young students are infinite. Some benefits that may not seem as obvious at first glance are:
- Being Part of a Community: learning to play an instrument with a group or working in a play with other students creates a feeling of camaraderie for all involved.
- Builds Self-Esteem: creating a portrait or working hard to develop a video game can lead to a sense of accomplishment that builds a student’s self-esteem when they complete the project.
- Emotional Release: if a student is going through a difficult time at home, they can take that anger out while playing the drums or when painting a picture. This helps them learn healthier ways to deal with their emotions rather than bottling them up or doing activities that may get them in trouble
- Self-Discovery: due to the fact that arts programs are notoriously under funded, students may not otherwise have the opportunity to explore photography, learn how to cook or play the guitar – that’s where Create Now bridges that gap.
Expressing yourself artistically may decrease the effects of a number of mental illnesses including anxiety, anger and depression according to the American Art Therapy Association.
Getting students involved in the arts, especially those who may not otherwise have a chance to experience it, can only help our youth and our community as a whole. Join Create Now in supporting arts programs throughout the Greater Los Angeles area to give those kids in difficult situations the opportunity to flourish and improve their mental well being.