We Need Art for Mental Health, Now More Than Ever

Jordan Brown

For a lot of people, art is an afterthought.

There seems to be little point for it during difficult times.

During difficult times, shouldn't the world focus on more pressing matters? On issues like security and health?

No. There's always a place for art. Always.

And its place is especially entrenched during difficult times.

What Art Is

What you consider art might not be what others consider art. And that is the point. Art is subjective, but one piece of art can uplift multiple people, all in different ways.

One person could look at a painting and see nothing, and another person could look at the very same painting and be brought to tears.

One person could hear a piece of music and feel nothing, and another person could hear that same piece of music and get inspired to build a movement to help others.

It doesn't matter how you feel when you see, or hear, or feel a piece of art. It's completely up to you. That's how mental health is as well. What you feel is valid. It's your experience. When we experience a piece of art, it just is. It's there. What if we all experienced our mental health the same way instead of being swept away by it, instead of giving mental health issues all the power?

Why Art is a Basic Need for Great Mental Health

Art has a special place during difficult times, and this is one of those difficult times. Art is needed now more than ever during this coronavirus pandemic.

To create art is to come alive. It's to be alive. It's right there, in the process of living.

Too much? I don't think so. I think art is a creative process, and isn't that what living is? We're all making it up as we go along. We all don't know anything for sure. That reminder is especially valuable now as we navigate this coronavirus pandemic together.

Now is not the time for fear. Fear can't create art--and if it can, it only can create very weak art.

Higher emotions like hope and joy--they can create great art. And that's what we need. Of course, we need to meet our basic needs. But societies always band together to do that. It's a given. What's not a given is how we preserve our collective art. It's as if it doesn't matter at all.

But it truly, truly does. Art can save us from ourselves. It can make us forget our small concerns. It can remind us that there is so much in the world that we don't understand, that we were never meant to understand.

When we experience art, we suspend our anxiety for just a moment and consider a new point of view.

That's what we need right now. We need to remember our intrinsic value.

Art can be a pathway to that important reminder.