Art Is Healthy For All

Art Is Healthy For All

Western Australia Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton

Art Therapy Plays Major Role In The Wellbeing Of People With Mental Illness

Victor P Taffa

Providing a safe environment for people with mental illness to create art can shorten a patient’s stay in hospital Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said today.

At today’s official opening of the 2011 Art Therapy in WA and Beyond Symposium at Graylands Hospital, Mrs Morton said the symposium aimed to raise awareness about the important role art therapy played in the management of mental illness.

“Art studios provide a safe, supported environment for people will mental illness and the creation of art gives a voice to experiences and feelings not easily expressed in words.” Mrs. Morton said.

“Research shows that the process of producing art can significantly improve the management of mental illness and key benefits include reduced drug consumption, shorter length of stay in hospital and fewer hospital re-admissions.”

A joint initiative between the North Metropolitan Area Health Service Mental Health and the Australian and New Zealand Art Therapy Association, the symposium is the first of its kind to be held at Graylands.

In her previous capacity as an occupational therapist, Mrs Morton worked alongside art therapists working with people who had mental illness and had great respect for their work.

The Minister said the art studios at Graylands Hospital were having a positive effect on reducing social isolation and improving self-esteem for those with mental illness.

“The Creative Expression Centre for Arts Therapy based at Graylands and its sister service, the Reflections Art Studio in Northbridge, are the only purpose-built art therapy facilities provided by the State Government.” Mrs. Morton said.

The event will be attended by art therapists and Mental Health workers from Australia and overseas.

Former British Prime Minister and wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill suffered from Bipolar Disorder or as it used to be known as Manic Depressive. Churchill described the illness as his ‘Black Dog’.

During the 1930’s when Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister Churchill while as a Member of the House Of Commons would go to his country estate and paint works of Art to pass the time and manage his illness.