Addressing mental health in dialogue with art

Addressing mental health in dialogue with art

“As with everything in life, there is Dialogue between the author and the subject of his work. In the beginning, the goal is not always clear; The path is made by walking». Anthony Tapies It was previously mentioned in the definition he gave of the practice of art in 1970, The importance of the procedure In artistic creativity, it is more important than the result itself, as well as in acting as a channel of expression. for this reason Eating Disorders Unit The Institute of Health Assistance (IAS) of Girona chose the words of this artist to present the exhibition Conversations with artWhich was opened at the Girona Museum of Art last October on the occasion of… World Mental Health Day Which can be seen until the twentieth of this month.

Work by a user of the Eating Disorders Unit illustrating how he views his inner landscape.

This exhibition has been proposed by the Unit, in co-production with other entities dedicated to mental health – the Adolescent Day Hospital, the Adult Day Hospital, the Community Rehabilitation Service of Girona and the Specialized Hospitalization Unit for Intellectual Disability – which aims to raise awareness about mental health and the importance of art and artistic creativity. Means of internal explorationAs a means of self-expression and as a therapeutic and rehabilitation tool. Head of the eating disorders unit, psychologist Gloria Travac, attributes value exposure to users of participating services. “The creative process offers the possibility of giving voice to what words cannot express.” In this way, Travash emphasizes art as a means of expression and highlights the exhibition's contribution to promoting mental and psychological health. Fight stigma. He explains: “Whoever comes to see the exhibition must understand that the procedure and the message he wants to convey are more important than the final result.”

Alima Al Khelaifi, user of Unity, with her interior landscape work, showing a swimming pool filled with water as a symbol of problems.

museum director, Carmen Clausellas, highlights the function of museums as centers of knowledge, but also as centers of health and well-being. Kloselas points out that this is not the first time they have collaborated on a mental health-related project project artistic work!, With workshops organized and led by users Community Rehabilitation Service of Girones and Plan de l'Estany But they never went any further. “It is the first time we have held an exhibition of these properties and we are open to further cooperation; the people who came to see them were pleasantly surprised; We have parted with the more classic samples It also sparked interest in the educational field.”

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I'm looking for the inner scene

The Eating Disorders Unit (UTCA) has been operating since 2021 and is a day treatment service through which, apart from individual and group sessions, also… Music, dance and art sessions as therapeutic tools. The intensive therapeutic offer of the service is designed to achieve a specific approach to food pathology.

“We offer alternatives to more traditional therapies because this type of user has great difficulty connecting feelings to the outside and artistic disciplines are a good way,” explains Travaş, who stresses the importance Breaking false beliefs The community is plagued by eating disorders, where “you can only see the tip of the iceberg of pathology, which goes far beyond food problems.”

Another work by an eating disorder unit user shows how he views his inner landscape.

In order to find the bottom, Art therapist Marta Aguasca Users were asked to imagine how they see their indoor landscape and try to capture it in the form of a work of art. Of all Individual landscapes They banded together until they formed a collection, which they displayed in a museum display.

“When we were told that our work would be shown in an exhibition, we felt excited and motivated,” he explains. Salima El KhalifiUser of the unit since January of this year. Al-Khelaifi explains that he knew immediately what he wanted to do. “They gave us many materials and They left us a lot of freedom Let's create or create.” In his case, he played one Complete pool With a faucet she poured water from it and imagined herself drowning and having to swim to the bottom where there was a plug that had to be removed. “Water is the problem and you have to dive in to clear the blockage so you can survive,” he explains.

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Together with other users' interior landscapes, the work is formed Multiple regressionwhich appears Diversity and difference in each one Which ends up being “private”. As the exhibition shows, the goal is for viewers to feel represented.

The work of Atrapats, made by users of the Hospital de Dia d'adults, shows the lack of understanding they feel.

The seventeen-year-old explains that she has shown herself Satisfied with the resultAlthough during this process he faced some difficulties that caused him frustration. “Art allows me to doubt, generates uncertainty, and helps me be less rigid and organize my thoughts better,” he says. The tangible traffic that people with this type of disorder tend to experience They are very demanding of themselves and inflexible This is why this type of treatment is considered very useful To break patterns and gain better awareness of the disease. “What comes out of the work is self-discovery and the acquisition of reflective ability,” he explains.

Pluralistic representation

Users from other mental health units and services have helped create one The combination appears and I am different. UTCA itself contributed another work entitled Parallel worlds, in this case by users between 18 and 25 years old. They painted methacrylate that embodied their own emotions, allowing them to emerge and interact with each other.

Psychologist Gloria Travasch, Museum Director Carme Clausellas and Salima Al-Khelaifi look at one of the works in the exhibition

Next, users of the teen day hospital created one Swirl with masks Which represents the external vision they present, behind which a “more bitter and painful” reality is hidden. The adult day hospital has contributed through a large network, where there is representation of the brain and the heart. In this case misunderstanding.

On the other hand, the Community Rehabilitation Service has been offering art therapy to users for some time, and for the first time, they have been able to display their work in an exhibition open to the public. In this part of the exhibition, many objects designed by each person and reflecting personal feelings thanks to imagination and creativity are displayed. These transformed everyday objects express countless emotions.

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Finally, the specialized hospital unit for people with intellectual disabilities provided two samples. On the one hand, users explained A A maze As “an opportunity to think that there are many paths and many ways to understand life” and on the other hand, they reproduced a series of warriors, all the same except one, to convey to society the importance of “understanding the differences.” .

Travash concludes that all the units that carry out art therapy have been united in this unit A joint and pioneering project in Girona For some common goals: Making disorders visible by making them present in everyday life to break stigma and take care of mental health.

Eating disorder trauma plan

The pandemic has led to a significant rise in eating disorders (ED). For the population with ACT, incarceration has been a contributing factor to the deterioration of the nutritional clinic, with an increase in relapses and the discovery of new cases. In 2020, the number of hospital admissions for TCA in Girona increased by 40% compared to 2019. As a result, to respond to this increase, the IAS established a new unit to deal with the increase in serious eating behavior disorders. It is a part-time, day-to-day respite care resource intended for young people aged 12 to 25 who require intensive treatment. It is a therapeutic service offering intensive day therapy with a global therapeutic approach, combining individual, group and family therapy where different types of activities, such as those associated with artistic disciplines, are combined to specifically treat the nuclear aspects of nutritional pathology. In 2019, 24 cases were treated in the day hospital, in 2021 there were 81 cases in the new unit and last year 76. Therefore, the data has stabilized upward but not down. Travash explains that they are only analyzing this year's data and will have to study the reason for this increase, keeping in mind that it can no longer be attributed to the effects of the pandemic.

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