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Drawing your way to a better state of mind

It’s incredible – the connection between art and mental health. Support staff at Community Living Port Colborne-Wainfleet saw it first hand when they provided 10 weeks of art therapy to groups of youth with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Young people between the ages of six and 21 who put paint brush to paper in the program said doing art made them feel better. Parents also noticed positive changes in their children. They saw they could better cope with difficult situations, drawing out their feelings on paper. They noticed greater self-confidence in their children, too.
There was no doubt among organizers, either, that art therapy was working, particularly in cases where other types of therapy hadn’t had much success. They saw participants learn new skills and better express their feelings. These same young people were also more willing to participate in other activities offered by Community Living.
This was all accomplished with the help of a $2,500 grant from the Niagara Community Foundation, money that enabled Community Living to hire a trained art therapist who not only brought out the best in participants but inspired support staff to continue using some form of art therapy with youth every day.
Art therapy will continue to be provided to groups or one-on-one by Community Living, which knows that access to mental health support when people are young increases the chances of good mental health in the future. 

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