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Oct 14, 2022

Bright Side: Art and Mindfulness to Cope with Mental Health Challenges

Many self-care practices are encouraged to combat the characteristics of mental illnesses that plague the lives of one in every eight persons. October is the month of advocacy for mental health and Raquel Rodriguez shared with us one such way that persons may unknowingly experience therapeutic release through the world of art.


Raquel Rodriguez, Owner, Raquel-Art

“The main reason that I took on mental health so strongly this month and I cleared out my calendar for it was because I know that there is something happening between the students and the art.”


Sabreena Daly, Reporting

Raquel Rodriquez is a Belizean artist who established a school in the peak of adversity in 2020. When the world was at a standstill, she found an outlet where people could creatively release.  Painting would be a refuge for children and adults. Now, persons who join her art school learn the fundamentals of drawing and painting, but the core of the undertaking is centered on social awareness and giving back to the community through art.


Raquel Rodriguez

“We do the fundamentals of art. We do the marketing. They understand how to label themselves, label their art and sell the art. And then we also do community work.  The students come to me for school and they are told as soon as they start the school that we are a movement, we are a foundation, we are community effort. So, we are also going to be out there doing something for the community.”


Raquel Rodriguez

The movement, as Rodriguez describes it, has contributed to community service in many ways. Partnerships with the private sector and government have resulted in communities being beautified with messages of social awareness. This month, the theme is combatting mental health through art.


Raquel Rodriguez

“There is that moment, maybe its five minutes, ten minutes or a few seconds that you really do see inside of a child. And you see that there’re issues there. We have seen where they are depressed, or they are going through issues. It could be anything from school work being a burden to puberty and you’re thinking about boys or dad’s not around. We were just discussing about single moms. How does that affect a child?”


Carrie Wade is a psychologist. She has also connected the dots between art and mindfulness.


Carrie Wong K Wade

Carrie Wong K Wade, Psychologist
“There’s lots of ways to address mental health issues. A lot of the times, we do Talk Therapy, that’s the traditional sit-down, tell somebody your issues. They help you put it in brackets that you can make decisions that are healthy, but a lot of times, we can’t find the words.  So, art therapy has been around for a while. Raquel doesn’t do art therapy, she just does art. But art in itself is so therapeutic that even though it’s not meant to be a therapy, you’re sitting there and you’re becoming mindful. Mindfulness is a very big technique used in mental health treatment.”


Courtney Gentle

Courtney Gentle, Student
“Art has really helped me. It’s been a part of my life ever since. Especially recently when my grandma passed away. It helped me to process my emotions because my grandma was someone I would go and talk to about my emotions. It was very helpful especially when I started to paint. I painted what I was feeling.”


Carrie Wong K Wade
“Mental health and art really connects because just by virtue of letting a child make mistakes, that’s a huge form of mental health support. Because most times you can’t get that wrong.”


The beauty of art essentially connects mindfulness with creativity, but it’s the final image on canvas, the product of our thoughts and emotions, that is truly rewarding. For Raquel, picking up a paintbrush can be the gateway to a whole new world of your own that helps us to escape from our mental challenges.


Raquel Rodriguez

“We see a lot of benefits of art and that’s why we really wanted to shine for mental health because maybe there’s that one kid out there and he’s watching the news tonight or on Facebook and he’s thinking I’m so stressed, I’m so depressed.   Let me just pick up a paintbrush like she said and maybe it helps.”


Looking on the Bright Side, I’m Sabreena Daly.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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