Art in mental health: more than a therapeutic approach
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Department of Experimental and Clinic Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
Departmental of Experimental and Clinic Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1239
The WHO has recognized the role of art as effective therapeutic approach in mental illness and useful tool in the humanization of care. Nonetheless, this methodology is still rarely used. The research aims to investigate the extension of art therapy and the possible use of art also as instrument for primary prevention. The mental health department of Italian Local Health Authority Roma 1 was chosen as case study. Here the art is use both as therapeutic approach in outpatient of mental health and as means of communications in initiatives of mental health education and sensibilization campaigns for the population. Data about this experience were collected by semi-structured interviews addressed to the top management of the health facility and focus groups with a multi-professional and multidisciplinary team made up of professionals involved in mental health services. With the term “art”, the interviewees referred not only to the art therapy and but also to the historic and artistic ambient, in which they work. The contextualization of the mental health department in a monumental complex, influences positively the interpersonal relationships and the organizational climax. In addition, the focus group underlines how art therapy is used because it is suitable for multiple types of patients, who are favoured to work sincerely and hardly on themselves, obtaining a positive impact. Moreover, art is identified as well as an effective communicational method in projects of primary prevention related to mental health coming from the direct experience developed in the museum “Laboratory of Mind”. In this moment of profound reorganization and remodelling of the mental health department in the post-COVID-19, the use of art in primary prevention initiatives is an innovation to adapt. The limits of this work are the evaluation of a single case study. Possible research’s developments can be the comparison with other similar realities.