Supporting Student Mental Health: Art Therapy

How can your college retail store support and encourage mental health and well-being for students? Last week on the blog, we talked about how you can sell yoga supplies and educate on the mental health benefits of yoga. Another idea is to sell quality art supplies and educate on the mental health benefits of art therapy!

College students live in a world that is often overwhelming, hectic, and full of pressure, and they would greatly benefit from trying art therapy. Whether drawing, painting, or other forms, creating art gives students the chance to slow down and artistically explore issues they may be struggling with. Studies have shown that “Art therapy improves the mental health of people who are dealing with addictions, anxiety, attention disorders, grief and loss, dementia, depression, eating disorders, physical illness, PTSD, trauma, relationship issues and much more.”

It’s important to remind students (especially perfectionists!) that the focus is on the creative process, not the final product. Art therapy isn’t about learning to become a better artist, but rather about finding meaning and connection in life. Studies also show that creating art stimulates the release of dopamine which can greatly assist students battling anxiety or depression.

Mental Health Benefits

Mental health professionals and experts agree that art therapy has many benefits, from boosting self-esteem, and providing a safe outlet to relieve emotions, to giving a sense of control over life. The process of art creation is supposed to allow students to take a journey of self-discovery that eliminates emotional roadblocks. The goal of art therapy (as a complement to other mental health treatment) is to manage behaviors, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem. Here are a few of the mental health benefits:

Self-discovery: Creating art can help students acknowledge and recognize feelings they may be having subconsciously.

Self-esteem: The creative process gives students a feeling of self-accomplishment which boosts self-appreciation and confidence. This can be especially helpful for students who are struggling academically which impacts self-esteem.

Emotional release: Art therapy provides a healthy and safe outlet to express and let go of feelings and anxieties that may not be able to be expressed with words. This is a much better and more productive coping technique than students may initially be drawn to, such as substance abuse or alcohol.

Stress relief: The every-day life of a student may cause significant stress, from classes to exams to jobs to navigating relationships and more. Not to mention students who are also battling anxiety, depression, emotional trauma, or grief. Creating art may be the perfect way for them to relieve stress and relax their minds and bodies.

Art Supplies You Should Sell

The Douglas Stewart Company has an entire section dedicated to top-selling art supplies on the School and Dorm Supplies Portal.

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