In a time when most tales from the world of mental health are focused on the inadequacy of care and the difficulty that many have in accessing professional help, the observation of those programs and initiatives that are actually experiencing success and bringing a greater quality of life to clients can be a considerable lift. One such program in New York City, entitled “Project Moving On,” serves as a refuge for those combating the symptoms of a variety of mental health concerns. Taking place each weekday afternoon, the program plays host to groups of men and women who are either mandated to attend by a local court in lieu of jail time, or who are referred to the program by a mental health practitioner.
With a focus on the visual arts, the program encourages its clients to express themselves through various mediums; from sketches of cars and ships to charming crocheted sock puppets, the participants explore the healing potential of their own creativity while immersed in a positive, encouraging environment. The sessions are supervised by mental health professionals with an enthusiasm for the positive qualities of their clients, and the clients themselves report feeling meaningfully supported both to attend and to take part in the group’s artistic activities. The program’s director notes that while some people remain frightened or bothered by those with mental health concerns, widespread efforts to replace traditional jail sentences and other reprimands with appropriate mental health treatment are steps in the right direction.
Sponsored in part by a fund created by The New York Times, the program was highlighted today in the publication and may serve as inspiration for struggling initiatives as well as those within the mental health community who are absorbed in the sometimes dismal statistics and sad stories of the modern state of meaningful care.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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