In the recent years there has been growing interest in using art as means to promote psycho-social rehabilitation and recovery of people with mental health problems. The idea that mental illness and creativity are connected is hardly a new one. Mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder etc., appear to be significantly more common among playwrights, novelists, biographers, and artists. Notable examples are Edward Munch, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes. The link between them has been extensively studied by psychologists. Several studies have demonstrated correlations between creative occupations and people living with mental illness. Nevertheless, the exact relationship between creativity and mental illness is not clear. One could assume that people with mental illness may have the capacity to experience the world in a really original way, and therefore their creativity is increased. On the other hand, we could assume that creative people are more prone to mental illness. Whatever the case, one thing has been constantly appeared in studies: when people with symptoms of mental illness engage in creativity and the arts, they are much more likely to get better as a result.

The vision of the ART4PSY project is to set up a sustainable European cooperation for using art as way to promote social inclusion for mental health patients and creating new career opportunities

Closely connected with this vision is the ambition to create the structures and personal resources necessary for longitudinal, large scale, international co-operation toward this goal. For this purpose, part of the project will be dedicated to the development of (a) a toolkit, which will gather methodology, good practices, activities and other material and can be used by mental health practitioners from all over the world; and (b) a digital library where artwork of mental health patients from all over the world will be exhibited and promoted. Due to the multidisciplinarity, practice-orientation and specificity of our project, we have a lot to gain from having mental health experts, artists and mental health patients working together into developing innovative methods to connect art and mental health.

To achieve this vision, our project has included the development and implementation of three (3) ART4PSY festivals (one in each country), which include theatrical performance (starting from writing the play and going all the way to the show), painting exhibition and photography exhibition.

Finally, an ambition of our project has been to ensure the sustainability of ART4PSY, i.e., setting up structures such as the digital library, the toolkit, networking with mental health units from other countries etc.

Project Duration: 36 months (December 1st, 2018 – March 31st, 2021)



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