Bringing Art to Youth Living With Mental Illness

March 01, 2018

​On February 1, Halton Healthcare, in partnership with the Oakville Galleries, celebrated a new program for youth living with mental illness, generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

"Art-ish" is a unique project developed by Oakville Galleries involving art workshops for child and adolescents, delivered at the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital in the Mental Health Program. This engaging one-year pilot project provides access to the visual arts through workshops facilitated by an art teacher and a professional art therapist. Children and adolescents from Halton Healthcare's Children and Adolescent Inpatient Care Unit (CAPIS) and the outpatient Recovery through Education of Adolescents and Children in Halton (REACH) programs have the  opportunity to participate in weekly workshops to learn about producing art works that support healthy self-expression.

Dr Alan Brown, Chief of Psychiatry, Halton Healthcare, sees the direct impact this program has made on his patients and the staff, "The benefit of art in a mental health context is truly remarkable – art transcends the science of the brain…it's something magical that touches not only the artists but also those who experience the creation."

The workshops feature a range of art-making activities, from traditional to digital, and the project fosters increased self-confidence, empowerment and social engagement for participants. Art-ish is a true partnership between the hospital, the community and the Ontario government to deliver an exemplary patient experience, for the whole patient – body, mind and spirit.

"We know that art inside the hospital provides comfort, inspiration and joy and can help in healing or reducing stress. Art therapy is one approach that has proven to benefit both mental and physical health." said Denise Hardenne, President & CEO, Halton Healthcare. "Thank you to our partners at the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Oakville Galleries and the OTMH Art Council for their support of this initiative to bring art therapy to our mental health programs and for helping us transforming the community hospital experience." 



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