Which role does art play in the COVID-19 pandemic?

pandemic

(United Nations COVID-19 Response, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by  Mr. Bruno Pellozo Cerqueira, a third year medical student at the Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Amidst the worldwide COVID-19 crisis, social isolation has been an important measure to reduce its transmission.  A wide array of countries have adopted it, in order to protect the people, and it has created, as a consequence, a number of unexpected situations, such as empty beaches and soccer stadiums and Pope Francis saying prayers to an empty St. Peter’s Square. Although efficient, a question arises: how’s the mental health of the world population being impacted?

It’s a topic of most concern, as social isolation and the fear of infection directly affect the people’s welfare, which makes it also an important topic to consider, and not only the disease’s pulmonary symptoms. As such, it’s necessary to search for methods of preserving the mental health of the isolated population. One could, for example, reach out to art, because as said by Friedrich Nietzsche: “art exists so that reality does not destroy us”.

There are those who say that drawing and painting are activities destined only to children, which raises a question towards it’s possible positive effect on the well-being. If it was true, why does art therapy exist and why is it used as a therapeutic activity? Art is a way of creating, feeling, expressing yourself and it creates a link between your internal self and exterior, connecting them. Analyzing Nietzsche’s quotation, art allows the mind to talk to reality, so they can reach an agreement and, in the end, create a mutually positive result for both. Augusto Cury says: “being happy is allowing the child inside you to be happy and free” – in these social isolation situations, everyone should let their inner child run free.

A pencil, a piece of paper and a human being – these three, combined, could result in a lot of different others combinations. Infinite results, even, such as the power of creativity. Feel free to practice art in these daunting times and let the positive effects speak for themselves. If you have children or elderly people at home, it’s a great opportunity to engage in an activity together. There’s no age requirement to express oneself through art, nor to be happy. Children could even feel more loved when adults engage with them in activities that some consider being only for young people and the elderly could reminisce joyful moments from their youth years.

In Maceió (Brazil), the IFMSA Brazil UFAL, together with a project called Sorriso de Plantão (which means Smiles on Call), created an initiative called “Colour to Smile” that has distributed color pencils and drawings to be painting by children in hospitals, as a way of diminishing their stress, because the play therapy activities normally engaged by Sorriso de Plantão are suspended due to the pandemic. Therefore, art can and should be used to promote the improvement of mental health, through overall wellbeing improvement. Search for happiness, because as stated by the Brazilian poet David Alves Mendes: “art is a form of happiness”.

References

  1. Abbing A, Ponstein A, van Hooren S, de Sonneville L, Swaab H, Baars E. The effectiveness of art therapy for anxiety in adults: A systematic review of randomised and non-randomised controlled trials. PLoS One. 2018 Dec 17;13(12):e0208716. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208716. PMID: 30557381; PMCID: PMC6296656.
  2. Aguilar BA. The Efficacy of Art Therapy in Pediatric Oncology Patients: An Integrative Literature Review. J Pediatr Nurs. 2017 Sep-Oct;36:173-178. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2017.06.015. Epub 2017 Jun 30. PMID: 28888499.
  3. Bozcuk H, Ozcan K, Erdogan C, Mutlu H, Demir M, Coskun S. A comparative study of art therapy in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and improvement in quality of life by watercolor painting. Complement Ther Med. 2017 Feb;30:67-72. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2016.11.006. Epub 2016 Nov 24. PMID: 28137529.
  4. Ciasca EC, Ferreira RC, Santana CLA, Forlenza OV, Dos Santos GD, Brum PS, Nunes PV. Art therapy as an adjuvant treatment for depression in elderly women: a randomized controlled trial. Braz J Psychiatry. 2018 Jul-Sep;40(3):256-263. doi: 10.1590/1516-4446-2017-2250. Epub 2018 Feb 1. PMID: 29412335; PMCID: PMC6899401.
  5. Im ML, Lee JI. Effects of art and music therapy on depression and cognitive function of the elderly. Technol Health Care. 2014;22(3):453-8. doi: 10.3233/THC-140803. PMID: 24704654.
  6. Regev D, Cohen-Yatziv L. Effectiveness of Art Therapy With Adult Clients in 2018-What Progress Has Been Made? Front Psychol. 2018 Aug 29;9:1531. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01531. PMID: 30210388; PMCID: PMC6124538.
  7. Sorriso de Plantão. Colorir para Sorrir: arteterapia para crianças hospitalizadas [Internet]. Brasil: Sorriso de Plantão; 2020 Apr 29 [cited 2020 Apr 18]. Available from: http://www.sorrisodeplantao.com.br/noticia.php?id=137
  8. Waller D. Art therapy for children: how it leads to change. Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2006 Apr;11(2):271-82. doi: 10.1177/1359104506061419. PMID: 17086689.

About the author

Bruno Pellozo Cerqueira, a third year medical student at the Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil. Affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations of Brazil (IFMSA Brazil), engaged in the Crisis Committee, recently set up to promote remote and digital actions during social isolation in the COVID-19 pandemic. He is vice president for external affairs at IFMSA Brazil UFAL. Besides that he acts as a clown doctor in oncopediatrics for the Smiles on Call ("Sorriso de Plantão") project. Mental health is a topic of interest, always looking into ways to promote it in his city, state or country.

 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Finland, Switzerland and New Zealand lead the way at teaching skills for the future

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Ebola in DR Congo, malnutrition in Laos, baby health, support for Sahel force, #ClimateAction

Migrants and refugees are being forgotten in the COVID-19 response. This has to change

Do electronic cigarettes produce adverse health effects?

2020’s ‘wind of madness’ indicates growing instability: UN chief

What does the world really think about the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

UN forum to bring ‘big space data’ benefits to disaster response in Africa

‘Chance for peace’ in South Sudan finally within reach, declares UN Peacekeeping chief

The UN has a 17-point plan to save the world. So how’s it doing?

ISIL continues to pose a ‘serious challenge’ worldwide – UN counter-terror chief

A seafood fraud investigation DNA tested fish sold in the US. Here’s what they found

Why a coronavirus vaccine takes over a year to produce – and why that is incredibly fast

Syria: Thousands of children ‘hemmed in’ by ‘brutal and gratuitous’ spike in violence

European Parliament approves more transparency and efficiency in its internal rules

EU Summit consumed by the banks

Brexit preparedness: EU completes preparations for possible “no-deal” scenario on 12 April

Our poisonous air is harming our children’s brains

EU Budget 2019 deal: EP boosts support for researchers and the young

The increasing drug prices in Europe

EU Parliament: ECB accountable for not supporting real economy

Checks, fines, crisis reserve: MEPs vote on EU farm policy reform

The G7 should take the lead on ocean targets for 2020

rescEU assets mobilised to help Greece fight devastating forest fires

The three US financial war fleets

Understanding our own garden that we call mind

Circular Plastics Alliance: 100+ signatories commit to use 10 million tons of recycled plastic in new products by 2025

Trump declares emergency and WHO urges speed – latest coronavirus updates

Copyright: MEPs update rules for the digital age

2021-2027 EU Budget: €378,1 billion to benefit all regions

Tackling water scarcity: 4 ways to pull H20 out of thin air

Rising human trafficking takes on ‘horrific dimensions’: almost a third of victims are children

‘Never give up’: UN chief urges all who serve, marking UN Day

5 ways CEOs can renew their businesses for the digital age

Plausible lessons to be learned from Covid-19

State aid: Commission approves €53 million public support scheme for charging stations for low emission vehicles in Romania

Brexit: The Conservative Party drives the UK and Europe to a perilous road

Peru should help more young vulnerable people into work

Protecting workers from biological agents: how to classify SARS-CoV-2

The Brits are not an exception and that’s why they voted to leave

UN health agency launches week of action to ban lead paint

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: The fruits of sustainability and decent work

Bertelsmann Stiftung @ European Business Summit 2014: Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TTIP) needs balanced approach

MEPs Anti-fraud votes for more votes?

How two colossal Assyrian icons were recreated using digital tech

Employers’ organizations work towards improving the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises

Reopening schools too early could spread COVID-19 even faster – especially in the developing world

Antisemitism, intolerance, can be unlearned, Guterres tells New York commemoration

A silent killer: the impact of a changing climate on health

UN agency assists Central American caravan migrants, voices concern for receiving countries

The Challenger Within – Mental Health In Romania During Lockdown

We don’t need to ban plastic. We just need to start using it properly

Parliament to ask for the suspension of EU-US deal on bank data

Monday’s Daily Brief: the future of food and digital tech, labour justice in focus, denuclearization, and Kosovo

Health & Sustainable Development Goals: it’s about doing what we can

Do academia and banks favour a new Middle Ages period?

European Semester: The Winter Package explained

We are ‘burning up our future’, UN’s Bachelet tells Human Rights Council

Can Southeast Asia keep up with growing energy demand?

UN experts cite ‘possible exploitation’ of workers hired to clean up toxic Japanese nuclear plant

What would happen if we removed cars from cities?

More Stings?

Advertising

Trackbacks

  1. […] Which role does art play in the COVID-19 pandemic?  The European Sting ” “covid-19″ when:1h” – Google News […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s