"I create for my health!": a regional campaign combining mental health and creative art
A regional campaign designed to raise awareness and highlight the difficulties caused by the pandemic among young people: this is the project created by the Centre intégré de santé et des services sociaux de l'Outaouais (CISSSO) in collaboration with the region's high schools, vocational training centers and adult education centers.
The objective of the CISSSO project was a series of collective murals created by students from the above-mentioned schools. Art and creation can become therapeutic activities and bring certain benefits when practiced, which are documented and reported in modern medical science. Art, especially when used in a therapeutic context, facilitates positive mental processes such as motivation, relaxation, information processing, expression and understanding of emotions, self-reflection and social cognition. The project was conceived, developed and implemented following the imposition of health measures against COVID-19 in Quebec in March 2020 and the obvious decline in mental health among student populations since then.
The topic proposed to the aspiring artists was seemingly simple, but has notable depth when considering the school experience during a pandemic. Students were asked to represent the ways in which they're dealing with everyday challenges. The result is several colorful, vivid murals full of references and solution paths for when it comes time to take care of themselves and feel good. Among the sketches are nods to video games (both new and retro), the self-care experience, nature, and technology in general (which makes sense when you consider how much of an effect distance learning has had on young people). One notable mural depicts small figures almost looking like they're playing tug-of-war with a giant medical mask, under a glowing sun and the giant inscription "WE'RE ALRIGHT" (we're okay/ok). A comical caricature, perhaps unaware of the famous "It's going to be okay" of Quebec Premier François Legault? We like to think so!
In addition to beautifying the targeted schools and providing a creative outlet for students, the CISSS initiative was also aimed at strengthening young people's sense of belonging to their student community. More than 14 schools participated in this activity, in addition to some Public Health stakeholders. The CISSS and Public Health offer their warmest congratulations to all the students and faculty involved in this beautiful project.
Photo: A few examples of murals, created by students from schools in the region through a CISSS de l'Outaouais campaign.
Photo : Courtesy CISSSO