Expert session on Art Therapy and Mental Well-Being – Tackling the Unseen Impact of COVID-19

MASH Project Foundation along with United Nations Volunteers (UNV) India in association with Fortis Healthcare organised an Online V-Hive on Art Therapy and Mental Wellbeing: Tackling the Unseen Impact of COVID-19 on Thursday, 25th June, 2020 from 5 -6:30 PM(IST).
 
V-Hive is a flagship initiative of UN Volunteers India that aims to create a platform for young college students to discuss and learn about social issues and become agents of behavioural change.
Amidst the global pandemic, students across the world are facing surging mental health challenges. The uncertainty of the future in terms of employment, financial stability or even mere survival has made the population shiver to their bones. The issue is glaring before us and it is imperative for us to find some solution. To tackle this huge amount of cognitive strain, there is a need for therapies to help the youth deal with the stress and anxiety they are going through and emerge as stronger individuals.
Art is an expressive and therapeutic medium that has the ability to inspire people and make them see adversities from a different perspective. Art Therapy provides people with creative tools  to confront and work through emotional distress and thereby enables individuals to take on life with a rejuvenated and fresh perspective.
The session on art therapy was delivered by Ms. Aditi Kaul, Lead- Arts Based Therapy Programme/ Psychologist at Fortis Healthcare. Aditi is an MA in Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai, Grade 5 UNESCO and Council of International Dance certified Movement Therapist and affiliated to the Canadian International Institute of Art Therapy.
Aditi started the beautiful session by asking everyone to draw a vessel and in the vessel draw things that make them happy. She later explained how art is a creative medium that helps people project their feelings through drawings or paintings when they are unable to do the same using words. She was able to help the viewers understand how the paper is an empty canvas waiting for them to pour out their feelings on and find relief.
The webinar was able to give the audience an insight on how art connects both, the implicit as well as the explicit sides of the brain and how a simple drawing can help the mind reconnect with a suppressed memory. Aditi also stated that in art therapy, the focus is not on how good the drawing looks, but on what that drawing means to you. She highlighted the fact that art therapy is solely based on one’s own perspective of the art and not of someone else. Seeing the drawing can help one reminisce about something as well as give the power to deal with it. She also mentioned how differently the brain reacts to positive and negative situations. How a small negative incident at the start of the day can have a huge impact on the proceedings of the rest of the day but a positive incident doesn’t have the same significance. Creating art gives one a chance to slow down and explore any issues they may be having.
She described how individuals can utilize all this time to learn a new skill or do something that always intrigued them like cooking or even chopping their own hair. She also added that sometimes it is completely fine to not do anything at all and just take a break. The important thing is to share your feelings with your friends and family, talk to them and help each other cope up during these tough times, as emotional release and self-discovery can help one deal with the global crisis with positivity and hope!
In the last 20 minutes, Aditi engaged  with the participants in an informative Q&A round where she answered all the queries and doubts of participants regarding art therapy and mental wellbeing.
 
Anubha from UNV concluded the webinar by explaining how UNV promotes volunteering across the globe to provide students with an opportunity to learn and grow. Aashish Beergi, Co-founder and CEO of MASH Project Foundation delivered a vote of thanks and highlighted the importance of partnerships in creating meaningful engagement that create positive impact to fight the pandemic. Mr. Arun Sahdeo, Country Head of UNV India also shared his thoughts and appreciation towards the end of event. The webinar had more than 300 participants and we received a very positive feedback from the participants! We look ahead to organising many more such valuable sessions.
COVID Action is an initiative by MASH Project Foundation that endeavours to provide a platform for the collaborators who want to bring about a positive change in the society when a pandemic has gripped the nation. Know more about our initiative and our work on www.covidaction.in and you can connect with us on covidaction@mashglobal.org

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