Art can help with mental health

“If you have any problems, speak up.”

That is the advice of Sharon Abdullah (main image), vice-chair of Angsanacare, a non-profit organisation operating within the Tunku Azizah Children’s Hospital since 2015.

Sharon, who runs an art studio, said Asians did not like to talk about their problems. That is detrimental to their health.

“We are brought up to keep everything inside. We never talk about what is bothering us,” said Sharon.

“I tell my two children that they can speak to me if anything is bothering them. I do not want to have any secrets.

“I tried asking my mother for some personal stuff. She said we are not supposed to talk about these things.

“But it is important to have someone to talk to, especially in this day and age.”

Sharon said many adults who took up painting found it relaxing, and that it helped in reducing their anxiety.

Art is recognised as an effective form of therapy for kids and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other mental health issues.

For Sharon, art is an outlet for her to express her emotions.

She translates this to her work at Angsanacare.

Angsanacare has two main programmes – psychological intervention, and music and art therapy for paediatric patients.

Its services extend to the entire family where possible, offering holistic therapy for families.

“We do a lot of work with children. Art is one of the ways we can connect with them.

“While engaged in the artwork, they forget their pain or illness. They feel happy.

“They do not think about their treatment or doctor’s appointments,” said Sharon, who has joined forces with Fugee School and Tea Bird Tea to run an art exhibition called Artrockus at Menara Ken, Kuala Lumpur.

The exhibition is open to the public.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the art pieces or products will go to Fugee School, which caters to refugee children.

“I have a number of pieces on exhibit. Sometimes, I do not know what I want to paint. I start, and it will slowly come to me.

“I know the people from Fugee School and Tea Bird Tea. This event is for a good cause as it is a chance for us to showcase the children’s art and to raise awareness of their plight.”

Brand Me Happy and Tea Bird Tea have been working with Fugee for 6 months to help them reinvent their business model to make them self-reliant and future-proof.

The exhibition ends Feb 2.

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