Mental illnesses affect millions of people from all over the world, regardless of their gender, race, religion, etc. It is estimated that 20% of teenagers aged 13 to 18 suffer from mental health conditions and that 75% of young people with mental illnesses are not receiving proper treatment.
Having said that, it’s clear that something has to be done. There’s always more we can do. One of the actions we can easily take is to bring art into our lives. Art has a huge impact on mental health and can surely be something to improve it and make many people’s lives better and easier to deal with.
To better comprehend the actual role of arts in this matter, I reached out to Silakbo PH, an art and mental health site by the Filipino youth, and talked to Rissa Coronel, founder, and head of Silakbo PH.
I asked a few questions that not only show the impact of arts while dealing with mental health issues but also the importance of initiatives like Silakbo PH, which raises awareness to this matter and connects people and art.
These are Rissa Coronel’s responses to my questions:
What is Silakbo’s role in portraying mental health?
- Silakbo PH is an effort to uplift stories in the context of mental health awareness. As art allows for catharsis and self-expression, we aim to uplift stories of mental health awareness through creative means. (…) We hope that telling stories through this way will destigmatize and shed light upon the importance of mental health, not just for those with formal diagnoses, but for everyone. We also aim to educate in terms of mental health, as mental health information and resources are hardly accessible for those who don’t pursue studies in a mental health-related field. Apart from our online and print outlets, we do this through social media, as it is what we can do at the moment as a grassroots, nonprofit organization.
What do you believe is the relation between arts and mental health?
- You may see a video [where these pictures were taken from, better explaining it] here.
How can we benefit from arts while recovering/dealing with mental health issues?
- Art can be used in the context of therapy, using different media forms and the creative process to accomplish the client’s treatment goals (e.g. communicate/explore feelings, reconcile conflicts, improve self-awareness, etc). This is used in private practice, mental health agencies, schools, hospices, prisons – there are a lot of examples of art therapy being practiced in the PH, like in New Bilibid Prison and even in Marawi. A license is needed to practice art therapy professionally.
What is the art form (for example music, painting…) that you think has a bigger influence on mental health?
- Studies have been conducted about the benefits of art therapy, music therapy, etc. but I don’t think it makes sense to pit them against each other. It depends on the personal preference of the artist, whether a medium is most comfortable and provides the most benefits.
There is still a lot that has to be done to better portray mental health and actually help people from all countries to receive the support they need with living with mental illnesses and one of the small steps we can take is using arts as a way to recover and deal with these problems in a more enjoyable and easy way.