Artist’s Watercolor Cat Gives the Cutest Comforting Mental Health Advice
The Story: An Instagram artist’s watercolor depictions of a cat giving advice to his person are opening up a conversation about mental health on social media. Hector Janse van Rensburg posts his artwork on the account “swatercolour” and recently spoke with Bored Panda about the comics. He said the series offers a new perspective on mental health and not necessarily a solution to these issues. According to him, the comic is based on his cat Ona who died a few years ago.
The comics that came before this series were less optimistic, and this series is a bit like a response to that. They sometimes approach difficult issues like mental health, but the aim of the comics is not to solve the issues but to show a different perspective on them. That new perspective often comes from the cat. — Hector Janse van Rensburg, @swatercolour, Bored Panda
The Frontlines: According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 6 people in the U.S. live with a mental illness and further research shows that art can be a healthy way for people to both express concerns as well as a form of therapy.
- In one study, scientists looked at the impact of visual art on neural circuits and neuroendocrine markers to show how it can build adaptive responses to stress.
- Creating art can stimulate the release of dopamine, a chemical released when we do something pleasurable that can make us feel happier.
- Art can also boost self-esteem and offer a sense of accomplishment.
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A Mighty Voice: Our contributor, Azra M, explained how art can be part of the treatment process. She said, “Art therapy has the ability to explore and delve deeper into therapeutic issues. The artwork a client creates can act as another lens into their mind. This can provide some powerful insight to improve the quality of the client and therapist relationship. Some clients end up being surprised by the artwork they create and what insights they find.” You can submit your first-person story, too.
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Other things to know: Many artists are using their creativity to talk about mental health in an honest, raw way. Here is some of what they’re creating to push the conversation forward:
- This Artist Uses an Unexpected Medium to Make Empowering Mental Health Art
- Marcela Sabiá Creates Body-Positive, Mental Illness Inspired Art
- How I’ve Used Art to Express My Journey With Schizophrenia
Header image via Hector Janse van Rensburg/Instagram