The Important Role of Art Therapy in Supporting Children’s Mental Health

Four ways art therapy supports children’s mental health
May 7, 2015 9:00 AM ET

May 7 recognizes SAMHSA’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day as an opportunity to bring attention to the positive impact mental health can have on a child’s wellbeing and development.

Here are four ways (of many!) art therapy supports children’s mental health & wellness:

  • Art therapy offers youth permission through their natural inclination of creative expression, to communicate experiences or emotions, especially when verbalization through talking alone may be unsuccessful. Strong emotional states often bottled up inside such as anger, sadness, and fear can become visible through the child’s art and initiate further exploration and understanding about its meaning;
  • Art-making in the context of an art therapy session supports a child’s resiliency and empowerment through creating a safe environment for decision making and problem solving to help strengthen coping, navigate conflict, and stabilize crisis or stress;
  • Art therapy provides creative, healthy ways to help youth decrease anxiety and worry, soothe, and regulate emotions and behavior;
  • Art therapy can help strengthen a child’s sense of self, self-esteem and overall awareness and discovery about identity and worth.

Youth receive art therapy services from Art Therapists in settings such as, but not limited to:

  • Treatment Centers
  • Hospitals, Clinics, and other medical settings
  • Shelters
  • Schools
  • Private Practice
  • Community-based programs

Art therapy services help support youth who are hospitalized, living with homelessness, in foster care, from military families, experiencing loss, and coping with traumatic experiences such as bullying, abuse, violence, and more. From early childhood through adolescence, art therapy has an important and positive impact on the overall psychological well being and growth of youth in need.



Consent for reproduction of artwork was obtained.