Mental health is a topic that has been under the spotlight in recent years, as people are realising that it is just as important as physical health and are more open to talking about it. However, there is still more work to be done to tackle mental health issues around the globe.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says that tens of millions of people each year are affected by mental health conditions in the United States alone, yet only about half of these people receive treatment. Furthermore, a solid cure for cognitive decline has unfortunately remained undiscovered. However, there is some hope, as research has shown that a lot of suffering that comes with mental illness can be alleviated through art.
VAGA is an organization that is dedicated to improving the lives of those suffering from mental health issues or cognitive decline through art therapy. VAGA’s mission is to connect artists, clinical psychologists, healthcare professionals, and academics to form a strong community that’s passionate about conducting collaborative research into art therapy and developing effective new art therapy programmes.
Why art therapy?
Modern art therapy has been around for decades: in the US, Margaret Naumburg coined the term ‘dynamically oriented art therapy’ in 1943; in the UK, references to ‘art therapy’ can be found as far back as the 1930s. In fact, art in general has been integral to human development, emotions, and culture – as evidenced from prehistoric cave paintings right up until today’s extensive variety of artistic works.
Scientific studies have found that there is a direct link between artistic expression and cognitive health. Art can influence the neurochemical state of our brains in a number of positive ways over time, strengthening synapses and neurotransmitters, and increasing neuron density. By engaging in art therapy, we can learn to better express ourselves, often exploring inner traumas and complex emotions that are otherwise stuck inside with no way to escape. Art therapy programmes, like those offered through VAGA, can help patients to overcome a wide range of mental health problems, including:
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Cognitive decline
Ultimately, by creating pieces of art, we can help to slow cognitive decline and bolster our mental health.
How VAGA is helping
Vagarights.com has two main aims: to expand on research into art therapy as a treatment for mental health issues, and to help healthcare professionals apply research findings in a practical setting. These aims are focused around one ultimate goal: to help people overcome mental health issues through art.
Mental health issues can be overwhelming, impacting everything from education to work to personal relationships and making daily life hard for sufferers. However, VAGA believes that art therapy has the power to transform these lives for the better, giving people the freedom to tackle daily life and overcome obstacles without being burdened by their mental health issues.
VAGA facilitates and instigates collaborative work between psychologists, healthcare professionals, artists and academics, creating the perfect setting to explore the relationships between human cognition, emotions, and artistic creation. These findings can then easily be developed and shared in order to create the most positive impact and benefit the most people. A lot of this research is used to create VAGA’s innovative art therapy programmes, which have helped countless patients to date.
To discover more about VAGA and the important work the team there are doing, please visit https://www.vagarights.com/.