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How art helps ease anxiety

Art has helped psychiatric patients cope with anxiety and stress, a mother of two said yesterday.

Davonne Campbell added that drawing had provided an emotional outlet for her when under stress.

She explained: “Sometimes I need to slow down — because my mind is racing.

“When I draw, I can really shut everything else out.

“I don't show emotion very much. So when I draw, I actually feel more emotional.”

Ms Campbell, 33, was speaking before the MindFrame PhotoVoice Exhibition, which opens today at the Bermuda Society of Arts Gallery in City Hall in Hamilton.

The annual event — started more than a decade ago — was set up to showcase art created by Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute patients.

The theme of this year's show is “Through the lens — look out, focus in” and will feature 155 artworks and photographs created by more than 50 artists.

Ms Campbell, from Pembroke, will have 14 of her works, many of them pencil drawings, displayed.

Her subjects range from famous actors and pop culture icons to unknown men and women.

She said her portrait of Marilyn Monroe was drawn when she was “feeling kind of down”.

Ms Campbell explained: “I saw a movie about her and I found out she suffered from depression and different things.”

Her drawing of civil rights hero Martin Luther King was inspired by the student-led March for Our Lives demonstration for tougher gun controls in the United States.

Ms Campbell has been a patient at MWI since a ten-day inpatient stay about four years ago. She felt “overwhelmed” at the time.

The stress and anxiety she had suffered from her entire life was worsened by other factors.

She started to see a psychologist at about the same time.

Ms Campbell said: “That really helped me.”

She was an inpatient at MWI again earlier this year.

Ms Campbell advised anyone who suffered from stress or anxiety to “reach out to someone”. Ms Campbell said: “Your GP is a good start.”

Debbie Roof, an occupational therapist and member of the rehabilitation team at MWI, said Ms Campbell's confidence and self-esteem had been boosted as a result of her artwork.

Ms Roof added that art therapy was used in several programmes at the Devonshire hospital.

She said that art classes offered a number of benefits to the artists.

Ms Roof explained: “It opens up different outlooks and avenues, people take more notice of what's around them and they may use this as a tool for their own wellness and recovery.”

She said art could also provide the chance to make money and employment opportunities.

The exhibition opens at 5pm.

Exhibition to start: Davonne Campbell

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Published October 20, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated October 20, 2018 at 8:22 am)

How art helps ease anxiety

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