Prescribed art, an experience for psychiatric patients

PSYCHIC HEALTH – Under the high ceiling of a former Montpellier pharmacy school turned contemporary art center, André, Kevin and Ambre work with clay under the watchful eye of an artist. On the recommendation of a psychiatrist, they participate in a pilot program “art by prescription”.

These three patients, of 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 within a few weeks, they respected this special treatment to the letter.

In 2022, this project will include three groups of about ten patients. In the program: one-month art tours combining visits to exhibitions and practical 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” It is funded by Mo.Co (Montpellier Contemporary Art Center), the Regional Health Agency, the Regional Department of Cultural Affairs (Drac), as well as the city and metropolitan area of ​​Montpellier, the oldest in its walls. Medical school is still in operation in the world.

Break the insulation

“It’s so liberating”Ambre Castells, a 17-year-old high school student, speaks with a smile as she pours paraffin into a clay mold. “When I’m here, everything that could harm me disappears. »

23-year-old Kevin Gineste saw him “Natural Anxiety Ease”. ” [Je] I 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”.

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.”Professor Philippe Courtet from Montpellier University Hospital emphasizes.

“Discharge of patients from the hospital”

For Mo.Co, the city’s center for contemporary art, and the psychiatry department of the university hospital “conviction” shared: has “Urgent need to raise public awareness of mental health benefits of arts engagement”Philippe Couret 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.

“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. “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.

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