How is mental health expressed through art?

Art, Design, Mental Health, Visual Culture

I’d like to gather research on how mental illnesses can be expressed through art and how it helps with mental illness.

As someone who has used art/painting in the past to express my illness and to find that not only was I creating art that could potentially help other people understand how I was feeling or thinking I found every brush stroke therapeutic.

Ive been looking at various artists work about expressing mental illnesses and come across a range of interpretations, its interesting to see how people express their illnesses in so many different ways, and the time in which the artwork was created.


This artwork (The Scream, 1893) by Edvard Munch, is a symbol of his abnormal state of mind. Expressing distortion and depersonalisation which suggests terror and possible suffering if this piece is thought to be an autobiography piece.

In comparison to a much more modern piece by Sebastian Eriksson.

What Depression Looks Like in Art - Digital Art Mix


This piece obviously being of a similar subject, however I find this piece to be more direct and not just a symbol but it convey the struggles of mental illness a lot more than Munch’s, Scream, maybe this is because the awareness of mental health these days is much more than back in Munch’s day?

If art had helped you with your illness please leave a comment as this will help me with my research greatly.


2 thoughts on “How is mental health expressed through art?

  1. Hey Shauni. Great post. I love painting but personally I have never painted to express my mental health issues. I do it for fun & I consider it part of my self-care to stay well. However, I do write a lot of poetry when I’m depressed or stressed & this is very therapeutic for me. I also crochet when I’m anxious because the repetitive nature of the stitches soothes me. Making jewellery gives me a big sense of achievement so I also do this as part of my self-care to stay well. Good luck with your research!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s