Enduring a chronic condition can chip away at a person’s overall well-being. The intersection between physical and mental health is extremely intertwined, and managing chronic physical symptoms often leads to patients developing depression, anxiety, and other health issues (Journal of Pain, 2010). These exacerbated symptoms then further wear on an individual, resulting in a lower health-related quality of life.
Unique to individuals with chronic illness is the need to process that their condition will be with them for the long-term, which can further weaken their mental well-being. Taking part in creative activities has been proven to have a positive impact on people’s mental health (National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, 2017). Overall, there is evidence that engagement with artistic activities, either as an observer of the creative efforts of others or as an initiator of one’s own creative efforts, can enhance an individual’s moods, emotions, and other psychological states (Stuckey & Nobel 2010).
A major obstacle to individuals with chronic conditions is that full engagement in art is limited by their lack of access to artistic collections or displays. Supplementing standard treatment plans with art therapy is not something that most clinicians have the capacity to implement (American Art Therapy Association, 2018). Therefore, there is a significant need for organizations such as AH&H to work with clinicians and connect art with medical treatment.
Art has the power to heal. Coordinating a team to rally around a patient’s holistic health model provides individuals with the ability to build self-resilience, enhance independence and confidence, and reduce feelings of anxiety, pain, or depression. (American Journal of Public Health, 2010). Ultimately, placing art in health care settings enriches both the patients’ chances of recovery and the health care providers’ performance. That magical combination taps into the power of art, achieving success and wellness in a mutually beneficial partnership for everyone.