How Does Art Help With Mental Health?

Posted by Nigel Harris on

Art has an amazing way of being a tool to express yourself and doubling up as mental health therapy. Throughout history, people have been believing that art can boost your mental well-being. And guess what? It's not just a thing of the past; art therapy is getting more popular.

It has become an avenue where you can dive into self-discovery, spill your emotions, and, in the process, find some healing. There's something magical about how art can turn into a therapeutic journey. It's not just colors and shapes; it's a way to confront your mental health and come out the other side feeling more zen. Keeping all of this in mind— let’s explore ways art supports mental health.

How Art Helps With Mental Health

Expression of Emotions

People can express feelings through art in a unique way that may be difficult to express with words. The act of creating, whether it be through painting, drawing, sculpture, or other artistic mediums, allows people to communicate and process complex emotions. This expressive side of art offers a means of communication without words, which is especially beneficial for people dealing with trauma, depression, or anxiety.

Stress Reduction

Engaging in art can be a great stress-buster. The focus and concentration required during the creative process act like a mini-vacation for your mind. It's like a zone where the outside world takes a backseat, and you can just be in the moment, letting stress melt away.


Art is like a mirror for your inner world. Through the creative journey, you might stumble upon aspects of yourself you hadn't fully recognized. It's a path to self-discovery, helping you understand your thoughts, emotions, and even hidden talents.

Boosted Mood

Ever notice how creating something can give you a little happiness boost? Art triggers the release of feel-good neurotransmitters, like dopamine. So, whether you're sketching, crafting, or making a masterpiece, you're not just creating art — you're creating a mood lift, which helps with your mental health.

Empowerment and Control

When life gets a bit chaotic, art can be your sanctuary. Creating allows you to have control over something tangible, even when everything else feels unpredictable. It's empowering to shape your artistic world, fostering a sense of control and accomplishment.

Artwork Vs. Mental Illness

Some mental health illnesses where artwork has shown positive effects:


People who are depressed may find that artwork is a useful tool. Creating or possessing art can be a way to explore one's inner world and communicate feelings, which can lead to a sense of self-discovery and accomplishment.

Anxiety Disorders

For those dealing with anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety or social anxiety, art offers a non-verbal way to manage stress. It can help individuals relax, focus on the present moment, and develop coping mechanisms for anxiety triggers.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Art is often utilized as therapy in the treatment of PTSD. It allows individuals to process traumatic experiences in a controlled and expressive manner. It manages symptoms, reducing the impact of flashbacks, and promoting emotional healing.

Eating Disorders

Treatment strategies for patients suffering from eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia nervosa, sometimes include art therapy. It can support the exploration of body image concerns, promote self-acceptance, and provide a channel for the expression of feelings associated with the disease.


A thorough treatment plan for people with schizophrenia may include art therapy. Taking part in artistic activities can assist develop cognitive abilities, improve self-expression, and give people who struggle with communication a systematic way to express themselves.

Bipolar Disorder

It aids in mood regulation and self-reflection for those with bipolar disorder. Engaging in creative expression can provide a constructive outlet during both manic and depressive phases.

It's important to note that art therapy should be integrated into a comprehensive 

mental health treatment plan, and individuals should work with qualified mental health professionals to address their specific needs. Art therapy is a versatile approach that can be adapted to various mental health conditions, offering individuals a creative and therapeutic way to explore and manage their emotions.

Other Forms of Art That Help With Mental Health

The significant impact of art is seen in a variety of contexts, including art therapy, expressive arts therapy, and personal creative expression exploration.  We open the door to an environment of self-discovery, resiliency, and emotional well-being when we embrace the healing power of the creative process, producing a more colorful and lively canvas for the path of mental health.

Expressive Arts Therapy

This approach promotes a closer bond between creativity and self-expression by letting people select the medium that speaks to them. This combination makes expressive arts therapy a stress-relieving tool.

Examples of Expressive Art:

  • Music
  • Dance
  • Acting
  • Fashion

Creative Art

Incorporating creativity in daily life enhances mental health, these pursuits offer an escape from the stresses of daily life and promote happiness and contentment.

Examples of Creative Art:

  • Writing
  • Crafting
  • Drawing
  • Knitting
  • Scrapbooking

The Impact of Art on Mood

Art directly affects mood by inspiring certain feelings through composition, color, and symbolism. Interacting with bright, upbeat art can improve one's emotional condition and promote a more cheerful atmosphere.

Does Buying Art Help Improve Mental Health?

Yes, investing in artwork can have good benefits for your mental health in addition to being a beautiful addition to your living space.

The Benefits of Investing in Art

Aesthetic Pleasure and Joy

Surround yourself with art that’s aesthetically appealing to you, and can bring a sense of pleasure and joy. The visual appeal of artwork can induce positive emotions, creating a more uplifting and enjoyable living environment.

Personal Connection and Identity

Discovering artwork that is significant to you and aligned with your beliefs may encourage a strong feeling of identity and connection. Being surrounded by paintings that reflect your personality and creating your visual narrative are similar ways that art can enhance one's sense of self.

Conversation Starter and Social Connection

When you display art to visitors or in a group of like-minded people, it can spark meaningful conversations. In addition to creating a sense of community and mutual appreciation, talking about your feelings and experiences with the art you've selected can establish social bonds, which are healthy for mental illnesses.

Encouraging Mindfulness and Contemplation

Having art in your living space encourages moments of mindfulness and contemplation. Taking time to appreciate the details, colors, and textures of an art piece can be a meditative experience, promoting a sense of calm and presence in the moment.

Investment in Long-Term Happiness

The joy of possessing artwork related to mental health is frequently a lifelong and developing experience. In contrast to certain material possessions that could gradually lose their appeal, good art can increase as your appreciation and connection with it grow, thus enhancing your enjoyment in the long run.


The connection between art and mental health serves as proof of the transformative power of creativity. At this point, Dare2Wear Art continues to pave the way by curating pieces of art that not only appeal to the eye but also soothe the mind and spirit. 

Our dedication not only focuses on awareness of the therapeutic effects of art but also opens the door for a society that is more understanding and compassionate and where art is valued as a crucial component of mental health. Dare2Wear Art’s objective demonstrates the vital role that art can play in fostering and maintaining our collective well-being in a society where mental health is rising to the forefront of social consciousness.

Article Sources

  • American Art Therapy Association
  • “What is Art Therapy?”

  • National Library of Medicine
  • “The Role of art Therapy in the Promotion of Mental Health: A Critical Review”

    Mental Health Resources

    Mental Health Helplines in the USA that offer support and resources for individuals facing mental health challenges:

    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: This is a critical resource offering 24/7 support for individuals in crisis or experiencing suicidal thoughts. The helpline provides free and confidential support from trained counselors. You can reach them by dialing 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). In 2021, a three-digit dialing code, 988, was also introduced to provide easier access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
    • Crisis Text Line: For those who prefer texting to speaking on the phone, the Crisis Text Line offers 24/7 support from trained crisis counselors. By texting "HOME" to 741741, individuals in crisis can receive immediate assistance and support through a text-based conversation, providing a discreet and accessible option for help.
    • SAMHSA’s National Helpline: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides a National Helpline that offers 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental health and/or substance use disorders. This service is confidential and free of charge. You can reach SAMHSA at 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).

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