Blues and anxiety are treated at the museum in Montpellier

The program aims to get patients out of the hospital “By writing art to them.” To do this, he suggests “Combining month-long artistic journeys, visits to exhibitions and workshops of artistic experiences”.

Blues and anxiety can be cured at the museum. Under the high ceiling of a former pharmacy school in Montpellier that has been transformed into a center for contemporary art, André, Kevin and Ambre work with clay under the watchful eye of an artist. They participate in a pilot program referred by their psychiatrist“recipe art”. These three patients, with very different ages and life courses, but with common episodes of depression or anxiety, followed by the psychiatric emergency and emergency department (Dupup) of the University Hospital of Montpellier had not shown a particular interest in art until now. But they nevertheless respected this special treatment to the letter for several weeks. For Mo.Co, the city’s center for contemporary art, and the psychiatry department of the university hospital “conviction” shared: there is one “Urgent need to raise public awareness of mental health benefits of arts engagement”Professor Philippe Courtet from Montpellier University Hospital insists.

Unprecedented in France, this project, inspired by experiences in Belgium, Canada or Great Britain, has an ambition, “Get patients out of the hospital by writing art”adds the professor. “Freeing, very freeing”Ambre Castells, a 17-year-old high school student, says with a smile as she pours paraffin into a clay mold. “When I’m here, everything that could harm me seems to leave”. 23-year-old Kevin Gineste saw him “Natural Anxiety Ease”. “You can go to psychologists, but the best thing is to do everything with my hands, to bring out what is inside me”he said, nice to meet you “People with the same type of problems” and now it’s ready “Go to museums more often”.

SEE ALSO – “We have more psychiatric patients”

Break the insulation

“It’s a workshop around soft, bendable materials that deform and change from solid to liquid upon contact. It allows you to immerse yourself in the experience.”, visual artist Suzy Lelièvre explains by observation. Next to them, 60-year-old André Broussous, wearing a white apron to avoid contamination, is happy with this time. “improved” his “a way of using (one’s) hands”after being introduced to body expression last year, under the tutelage of dancer Anne Lopez. “Choreography gave me the art of adapting to a group, which was not easy at first, but also gave me more confidence in the way I express myself and act”remembers

“Mental health disorders such as depression lead to social isolation and lack of self-esteem, which contributes to the disruption of being in groups.”emphasizes Philippe Courtet, who is passionate about modern art. “Here, it is not artists who go to patients, but patients who go to museums, meet artists and enter their universe”Elodie Michel, another specialist in psychiatry at CHU, insists.

In 2022, this program will include three groups of approximately ten patients. In the program: one-month art trips, visits to exhibitions and art practice workshops. Each session was accompanied by a fine arts student and a psychiatry intern, specifically responsible for the scientific evaluation of the project. Completely free for participants, “recipe art” Mo.Co is funded by the Regional Health Agency, the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (Drac), as well as the city and metropolitan area of ​​Montpellier, which still has the oldest medical school in the world within its walls. in action. “We hope that this program is universal and can be paid for by social security”Numa Hambursin, director of Mo.Co, pleads that treating doctors in Canada can now schedule up to 50 museum visits a year for their patients.

SEE ALSO – Depression: how to get out of it?

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