The art of managing mental well-being
Recognizing the seriousness of adolescent mental health issues in Malaysia, a team of psychology and arts experts have led a project to help students cope with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr. Suzanna Bono, a social psychologist from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), said mosaic and Zentangle art was used to help students at SMK Jelutong in Jelutong, Penang, manage their psychological well-being.
“The project was funded by USM’s Industry and Community Networks division.
“It was carried out through a few artistic creation sessions that lasted three months,” said Bono, who led the project.
She said mosaic and Zentangle art served as a type of meditation to help reduce stress and address mental health issues.
She explained that the processes involved a lot of energy, patience and focus, which then led to calm and peace of mind for the participants.
Lim Pei Fern, a master’s student in art therapy at the School of Social Sciences, said students were guided in expressing their experiences, issues and emotions through their artwork.
“The concept of recycling was incorporated into this project, where pieces of broken and discarded mosaic tiles were used to create unique art products,” said Lim, who is the mosaic art instructor. of the project.
USM School of Arts professor Dr. Safia Najwa Suhaimi was the Zentangle art instructor.
The theme of one of the artworks was Covid-19, where students had to come up with meaningful names such as “anxiety”, “fate” and “qalbi” for their projects.
Thirty fourth-grade students from SMK Jelutong participated in the art project, along with their school counselors who served as project facilitators.
Bono said the pandemic has left some students emotionally disturbed, depressed and stressed.
“Some students have encountered difficulties in their lives, and some have lost loved ones.”