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J Psychosoc Rehabil Ment Health. 2015 Jun;2(1):9-18. Epub 2015 Jul 2.

From recovery-oriented care to public health: Case studies of participatory public art as a pathway to wellness for persons with behavioral health challenges.

Author information

1
Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education Mental Health Program and the Division of Prevention & Community Research and The Consultation Center, Yale University School of Medicine.
2
Division of Prevention & Community Research and The Consultation Center, Yale University School of Medicine.
3
City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services and the Yale University School of Medicine.
4
City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
5
City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.

Abstract

The objective of this study is to identify individual mechanisms of change that result from engaging in an innovative participatory public art project for persons with significant behavioral health challenges. We present two case studies that examine how participatory public art promotes recovery and wellness. This research is part of a larger, multilevel comparative outcome trial on the impact of participatory public art on the health and well-being of adults in recovery from mental illness and addiction and on the distressed city neighborhoods in which they live. The case studies describe the unique ways in which participatory public art contributed to key recovery domains of growth in friendship, self-discovery, giving back, and hope. The two cases indicate that the development of a strengths-based sense of self through art was accompanied by a growth in personal social responsibility. The two cases also indicate that participatory public art may have a profound impact on the internalization of stigma. The findings support the value of participatory public art as a strategy for blending recovery and public health perspectives to promote both individual and community wellness.

KEYWORDS:

Arts Participation; Case Study; Public Art; Recovery; Wellness

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