Art and mental health: Here is How Art can Help in Dealing with Poor Mental Health?

How does art help in poor mental health days?


To begin with, let us recall some of the ever favourite artists, we all have sought artistic inspirations from. Vincent Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Edvard Munch, Chester Bennington, Charles Bukowski and many others. Well, all of them have had their phases of poor mental health and their darker experiences have been reflected in their work till day. Though, some of them have ended their lives perhaps because their darkness found no end, there are traces of how they used art to channelize their pain for a very long time.

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness
– The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski

Let’s talk about Charles Bukowski a poet and writer who diligently wrote about the sufferings and hardships of life and the importance of staying true to oneself. Bukowski had suffered from manic depression and used his writing as a way to channelize the emotions. At the age of 82, Bukowski died of Leukemia yet his work of creativity is a reflection of his life. Well, but how can art be the way one could feel better?

“Art helps you to channelize your emotions. Sometimes there is an abundance of emotions, be it sadness, be it love or anything. This can be both constructive or destructive. Destructive is when they overpower you, especially when these emotions are on the negative side of the spectrum. And constructive is when one channelize them through art.” – Mrinal Mandal, artist and art curator at The Astitva.
ayahuasca mental health
Image Source – Pixabay

What is the science behind Art and Mental Health?

“When creativity takes over your physical state, emotional state, and mental state, it’s what I call art therapy. Like the other therapies for mental health, art can also act as a therapy. Art therapy is basically what helps a person to communicate to oneself, to their emotion. It is a fact that when we do something we love, we often end up forgetting our worries and stress. The science behind art therapy can be seen in the way that any form of exercise that releases the oxytocin hormone. Oxytocin is that hormone that can help with stress, anxiety, depression to a healthy relationship, and bonding.” Khushii Pathak Mishra, life design coach, founder of The Mindful Abundance.

Art for Mental Health, Not Mental Health For Art

For art therapy to work, it doesn’t require you to be an expert at your art. Your art need not look good, or the work of an expert. It should be something that is for yourself and to channelize your thoughts. The opposite of the same can come up as a problem.


Meghna Prakash, a young poet who has been a survivor of bipolar and other mental health disorders said, “When I was younger, I used to think that maybe I can’t write if I am not depressed because I write such sad poems but now, honestly, my mental health doesn’t help my writing. Instead, it makes me doubt myself. I am using writing as a solution, to find hope – to cope up with this illness. There isn’t any good in romanticizing mental illness.”


There are many people who identify their art, blooming during their poor mental health state. There is no denying that art and creativity can be a vent for the darkness during the phase of poor mental health. Where art can be used to come out of darkness, obsessing for the vice versa can be problematic. There are people who romanticize trauma and pain to create good art which is like obsessing for darkness to create beauty which is not just wrong but can be harmful to the mental state of mind.


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Ishika Aggarwal

Can write, shoot, listen, talk and procrastinate. A feminist at heart, Ishika is an avid writer and multimedia person who loves talking about women, realism, and society. When not working she is either seen watching films or making one.

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