Healing Together: The Lid Project

Healing Together: The Lid Project

Kristine Vuocolo (Human Services Inc., USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5981-8.ch010
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This chapter emphasizes several key concepts concerning mental illness in today's society. The author strongly believes that mental health recovery is possible and that it is an individualized journey. People struggling with mental health issues can find hope and healing through the use of artistic expression. This chapter is designed to encourage and inspire others to use everyday items and turn them into art. The author describes how collaboration can be a key ingredient to the success of the healing that takes place while doing art together.
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While trauma disorders are currently receiving significant attention, countless other mental health disorders often remain undiagnosed, ignored, and stigmatized. Statistically, 1 in 4 adults struggle with a mental illness in a year (Johns Hopkins Medicine). That is 1 out of every 4 people in a family, 1 out of every 4 coworkers, students, friends and neighbors. In other words, a quarter of the population is struggling with a mental illness at any given moment. Mental illness is non-discriminatory and crosses all cultural lines, age brackets, and economical statuses. So while communities and schools rush to become trauma-informed, it may be more poignant to acknowledge, educate, and respond to the extremely high percentage of people living with mental illnesses beyond those associated with trauma.

Fortunately, the benefits of art making do not discriminate either. Regardless of diagnosis, the arts have repeatedly demonstrated an ability to heal. Engaging in music correlated to a form of relaxation, a decrease of tension and anxiety, and control of chronic pain. Making art led to a reduction of the stress producing hormone cortisol, and also gave participants a sense of identity. The findings of movement expression and expressive writing are similar, but added findings of a boost in immune functioning, significant improvement in physical health, and an overall improvement in quality of life (Stuckey and Nobel, 2010).

Collaborative art projects seek to intertwine people traveling similar paths; building trust and connections in an effort to simultaneously decrease feelings of isolation while providing movement towards coping and healing. This chapter shares the story of The Lid Project, a collaborative art project set at Transitions, a psychiatric rehabilitation program. While the story may offer the reader a project to replicate, the more substantial takeaway is the richness of metaphor for the healing journey found within the story and the process of creating art together.

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