Arts Health News

Posted: Mar 7 2017 - 10:18am

A Calgary mom is raising money so teenagers can benefit from a program that’s changed her daughter’s life.

Christina Ryan’s 17-year-old daughter Emily has numerous medical conditions, including Down syndrome and epilepsy.

Emily doesn’t talk or walk, but during weekly sessions with Calgary-based JB Music Therapy, she giggles in delight, moves to the music and lets her personality shine.

“Music therapy gives Emily talents I didn’t even know she had,” said Ryan, a former Calgary Herald photojournalist.

“She loves to sing along with the music, to drum, to play instruments. If I hadn’t given her this choice, I wouldn’t have known. It gives her independence and allows her to grow and express herself.”


Posted: Feb 16 2017 - 12:00pm

Uganda has a long history of hosting refugees. The UN estimates that since July 2016, the country has welcomed more than 18,000 people fleeing civil conflict in South Sudan. Kaz Kasozi - a musician who blends blues, jazz and rock - teaches music as a form of psychotherapy to refugees who have resettled in Uganda. He speaks to Focus on Africa's Paul Bakibinga.


Posted: Feb 15 2017 - 12:00pm

Liz Atkin is an internationally acclaimed visual artist and advocate based in London, whose life has been dominated by her compulsive skin picking for more than 20 years.

But recently, Liz has found a way to channel her compulsions using art – by re-imagining the body-focused repetitive behaviour of skin picking into photographic-artworks, charcoal drawings, and performances.

40-year-old Liz, from South London, has been suffering with compulsive skin picking – or Dermatillomania – for more than two decades. Describing it as ‘more than a bad habit’, Liz said: ‘Picking at skin is a very normal human behaviour, but CSP is categorised by the repetitive picking at skin to the extent that significant damage is caused, and it impacts on a person’s daily functioning.


Posted: Feb 14 2017 - 12:00pm

If you were to peek into a therapy session at Wheelhouse Workshop, you’d be surprised to see a room full of wizards and elf princesses.

The kids who arrive are usually struggling with life-challenging issues related to autism, ADHD and social anxiety, but you wouldn’t know it based on their behavior.

That’s because they’ve taken on new identities in a game of Dungeons and Dragons and their fantasy characters are collaborating to solve problems together.

It’s a creative way to help troubled kids practice good social skills and it’s proven to be extremely effective.  At the Wheelhouse Workshop, therapy is quite literally fun and games.


Posted: Feb 13 2017 - 12:00pm

Like many musicians, Robb Nash’s arms are covered in tattoos. But the words on his skin aren’t lyrics or quotes -- they’re the names of young people who were so touched by his songs about mental health that they handed him their discarded suicide notes as gestures of perseverance.

“They’re still here and they’re conquering the world around them,” Nash told CTV News.

Nash’s struggle with mental health began at the age of 17, when a car crash on a Manitoba highway shattered his skull. The injuries were so severe that Nash was initially pronounced dead on the road. He was resuscitated and eventually recovered, but the lingering pain and trauma from the accident manifested as suicidal thoughts.