The pandemic has been tough on everyone, and according to both UNICEF and Statistics Canada, it’s been exceptionally tough on our children and teenagers. It’s impacted their social lives, their schooling, and their personal development. The challenges of social distancing, feelings of isolation from being away from friends and family, and the abrupt switch to remote learning have all contributed to the toll on their mental health. Now, more than ever, our young ones need new skills to adjust and flourish in this new normal.
Art and Healing
But here’s the silver lining – we’ve all seen the healing power of the arts during these difficult times. Remember the boom in virtual art sessions? The touching signs made for healthcare workers? The painted rocks scattered about? The spontaneous musical performances on streets and in hospitals? All these were clear signs of how art was used as a powerful tool to create meaningful connections, express our sense of community, and build resilience. And guess what? Our teens can harness the same power of art as they navigate their path towards adulthood.
Arts proved their worth in our toughest times, and they’re just as crucial for our kids today!
Our ‘Name it to Tame it’ art class is the ideal space for your teen to start reconnecting with the world. With its small group setting and nurturing, safe environment, it’s designed to help them develop healthy ways to cope through fun, creativity, and self-expression. So, your teen won’t just learn to create art in this class, they’ll also learn to create resilience and thrive in life.
Our Name It To Tame It group for anxious teens isn’t run by an art therapist, it is run by a teaching artist, Meg Neufeld. What’s the difference you might be wondering?
Art therapists are professionally trained clinical counsellors with specific training in art therapy, who use creative expression and art-making as way to help clients explore their emotions and experiences in specific ways and with clinical support; teaching artists are practicing professional artists that place an importance on teaching people how to engage in art in a meaningful, helpful way that can have a positive impact on mental health and resilience.
Teaching Art for Teen Anxiety
Art therapy and teaching art can be game-changers in your teen’s wellbeing. Imagine them enjoying fun art activities that not only keeps them engaged but also makes a real difference in their lives. These creative sessions can help them let go of stress, motivate them to take care of themselves, and promote their personal growth. It’s about more than just painting or drawing, it’s about growing their confidence, boosting their self-esteem, and helping them build resilience. Art provides your teens with a fresh, creative outlet to explore and express their thoughts and emotions, and along the way, they’ll be acquiring crucial life skills. It’s a win-win situation, and what more could we as parents ask for?
As a professional and teaching artist, Meg Neufeld is in a unique position to draw from her own experience as a practicing artist and as an educator in the community. Meg has over two decades of experience as a professional artist, along with training in education and in mindfulness-based art techniques that can be passed on to teens struggling with anxiety. She also has personal lived experience about what it is like to make art for one’s physical, social, mental, emotional wellbeing as a result of her own journey with chronic pain.
Anxiety: Name it to Tame it!
If your teen is struggling with anxiety, we’d love to bring them into the world of art, and help them find a safe place to land, and explore how art can help them in their journey with their anxiety, and have some fun!
If your teen’s anxiety would prevent them from coming to a group, we’re also able to provide this service 1:1 and in pairs with parents – let us know if your teen would benefit from individual sessions!
They both are excellent tools to manage anxiety! In recent years, mindfulness has emerged as an effective strategy for children and adolescents dealing with conditions like ADHD, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, depression, and stress. Coupled with the health benefits of art-making, mindfulness skills can be instrumental in managing anxious or negative thoughts for children and youth.
Mindful Art Making
A recent study from the University of Waterloo shows that just 10 minutes of mindfulness-based activity a day can reduce anxiety and prevent your mind from wandering. Mindful art making activities, especially those that require repetitive tasks (like knitting), with sensory elements (like clay), and reflective components (like journaling) work to calm the nervous system, and soothe symptoms of stress and irritability.
Focusing on the process rather than the product, and approaching the art-making experience with compassion and a non-judgmental attitude can be instrumental in managing anxious or negative thoughts. Supporting child and youth mental health using mindfulness-based art activities is a no brainer (pun fully intended).
Did you know that an estimated 1.2 million children and youth are affected by mental illness. 70% of mental health issues begin in childhood and adolescence, yet 75% of children with mental health issues do not access specialized services. Teen suicide rates in Canada is one of the highest in the world, with rates in Indigenous communities being 11x higher than the national average (Youth Mental Health in Canada statistic)
According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, over 30% of teens have anxiety disorders, with girls (38.6%) having a higher rate than boys (26.1%). This is why it’s so important for us to prioritize, support, and advocate for mental health programs and treatment for children and teenagers.
How can Art help Anxiety?
Back in 2019, the World Health Organization shared some eye-opening research. They found that letting young people explore their creativity through the arts can greatly improve their social skills, physical health, emotional wellbeing, and cognitive abilities. This holistic improvement in mental and physical health is making arts a vital part of healthcare, particularly for our children and teenagers. The more they’re able to express themselves through arts, the healthier they become, and this trend is gaining more recognition in the healthcare world.
Anxiety: Name it to Tame it
Our Name it to Tame it group is designed to use the arts described in this research to help teens with anxiety use art-making and mindfulness to improve their social skills, physical health, and mental and emotional wellbeing using a fun and creative art experience.
Using something as ordinary as styrofoam can create intricate and layered images, simply by carving into it. Roll on paint and press! Layer designs and colors to create full-sized prints or even a set of cards.
Hope to see you there!
Images sourced from their respective linked-to sites. Copyright held by their respective owners and used as examples of the style of art being done in the studio