Using art in therapy has been a common practice in many parts of the world and recent research has shown that art could do more than that. This was what was found in projects like Beyond Diagnosis that involved 3 different art projects in Cork City that had people with mental health problems participating.
The research was carried out by UCC (University College Cork) which found that individuals with mental health problems like stigma and social isolation could be greatly reduced by art projects. There was the Unfold Visual arts and animation project where participants had weekly meetings of drawing, painting, collage work and Stop Motion animation at Cork City’s Crawford Art Gallery. And then there was the Flow music project where participants were required to use their voices, bodies and instruments to create sounds and compositions during their weekly sessions.
The third project was known as the Listen and Look music project in which artists, staff and participants created songs based on Haiku poems which were written previously.
One participant, who has been treated for depression for more than 10 years, Marie Hickey said that she attended the art and animation group on Mondays and for the past 2 years seen her on the route of recovery without any admission to the hospital, something she has been doing for the last decade or so. Meanwhile, Mary Dineen, who is a community mental health nurse and the chairwoman of the Arts Mind projects said that the projects allowed people to get to know one another which she said addresses the problem of social isolation among many people with mental health problems.