Art, such as music, painting, literature, theatre, and dance are a part of our everyday lives. Whether we need a pick-me-up, are enjoying an outing with family and friends, or just need to wind-down after a long day; these art forms all bring joy. In addition to being joyous activities, the US Defense Department has also found them to be healing in a substantial way.
According to the Defense Department, approximately 350,000 U.S. military personnel have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries since 2001. While the modern military equipment and body armour provided has reduced military deaths, explosive devices have inflicted injuries on veterans that increase stress hormones and complicate adjusting to life back at home.
Studies have shown that making art can actually decrease these stress hormones and decrease anxiety. Creating art can be especially helpful for veterans that suffer from PTSD. Oftentimes service members and veterans have a hard time expressing their feelings and emotions due to their experiences in combat. Creating art helps them to externalize these repressed feelings.
In efforts to create a therapeutic outlet for service members and veterans, The Military Arts Program has partnered with the Department of Defense and the National Endowment for the Arts. NEA assisted in funding the military “healing arts” network via a grant.
To find out more about Military Healing Arts program and other programs that benefit from NEA funding, see StandForTheArts.com. You can also learn more about recreational therapy and the daily lives of recreational therapists in one of our most recent articles.