One in five Americans experience a mental health or substance use condition in any given year. Imagine one of those children or adults is someone you know.
While going to a therapist and taking the correct medication — if any is needed at all — is a start on the road to recovery, there will ultimately be stress involved in the healing process and emotional needs people may not be able to express via traditional methods. This is where PSA Art Awakenings comes in.
As a psychosocial rehabilitation and art-therapy program with 13 studios and five galleries in six counties throughout Arizona, PSA Art Awakenings helps more than 1,000 people annually work toward empowerment and recovery through their own creativity. Whether an adult or a child, in our eyes they are artists… valued, talented individuals shaping their own journeys in recovery through their connection with the arts.
Be it painting, creative writing, music, movement, jewelry-making or sculpture, the safe, supportive environment at Art Awakenings fosters the exploration and development of each individual’s artistic and creative skills. Artists work individually and in groups through the creative process of self-exploration, after which they’re given the opportunity to share and sell their work to others through public art exhibits and in galleries, online and at local events including community art walks.
This creative healing process not only helps the artists learn respect for themselves and others, but also teaches personal accountability and allows them to take pride in their accomplishments while developing enhanced self-esteem, wellness management and pre-job training skills, all contributing to recovery and community integration. Artists readily admit that creating art helps reduce stress and the intensity of their psychiatric symptoms; the common mantra in the studios is “Art Saves Lives!”.
While the galleries are based in Arizona, juried artwork is shared and sold online at ArtAwakenings.org to give artists a presence on national and international scales. Proceeds ranging from 70 percent to 80 percent go directly back to each artist, while the remainder goes to support the program supplies and opportunities provided by PSA Art Awakenings, a program of PSA Behavioral Health Agency.