Promoting Mental Well-being Through Art

Activities at Creative Mindset Hub aimed at reducing stigma, anxiety and depression

The increase in the number of people seeking help for mental health issues has prompted the Singapore Association for Mental Health (SAMH) to start an initiative that provides therapy through art.

The Creative Mindset Hub, which officially opened yesterday at Our Tampines Hub, uses workshops such as storytelling and watercolour painting to promote mental well-being.

The World Health Organisation reported in October that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.

Last year, 42,663 outpatients were treated at the Institute of Mental Health, a 22 per cent rise from 35,002 outpatients in 2010.

Global studies have described the positive impact of the arts on mental well-being.

A growing body of evidence suggests that engaging in the visual arts for adults with mental health conditions can reduce depression and anxiety, increase self-respect and encourage re-engagement with the wider world.

Creative Mindset Hub, which began operations in June, joins public service agencies at Our Tampines Hub to provide the art therapy. Its partners include the People’s Association and Tampines GRC Community Arts and Culture Clubs.

Anyone can sign up for the services, with prices ranging from free to $80 a session.

Art coordinator Dorothy Lim, who helps run the workshops, said the sessions use art as a form of expression and as a tool to reduce stigmatisation. “It is open to anyone. The main purpose is to create a group where people from all walks of life can come together to create art… It does not matter what illness you have.”

President Halimah Yacob told yesterday’s opening ceremony of the importance of having the community work together to help others overcome mental health conditions and the stigma surrounding them.

“In recent years, Singapore has made progress in lifting the stigma of mental health conditions and strengthening preventive and rehabilitative mental healthcare for all,” she said. “The Hub aims to be a key part of our holistic healthcare system and bring quality mental healthcare closer to the community.”

Madam Halimah also noted that the focal area for President’s Challenge 2019 will be on mental health, given afflictions in this area are among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

She also visited Our SG Hawker Culture, a travelling exhibition at Our Tampines Hub, to pledge her support to nominate Singapore’s hawker culture for Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage list.

This article was originally published on The Straits Time on 2nd December 2018.