How Art Benefits Mental Health and Addiction Recovery

Blog by Gloria Grace Woods

I have had the blessed opportunity to volunteer at these art classes for the past two months.  These men and women are not only talented individuals, but they have become friends to me.  We are on equal ground.  Being bipolar and a recovering alcoholic, we can relate to each other.  They are authentic and real.  They don’t care about what I do for a living or that I am in the middle of pursuing a career; they care that I am loving towards them and grateful that I can help them with their artwork when they need assistance.  I have formed bonds with a few of them.  They light up when I walk in the room.  It is so rewarding to me to share two hours with these beloved artists.  It is a delight to see how far they have come each week I return to the classes.


One special artist shared with me his feelings as he was painting a beautiful picture of Pocohantas:


“Our life is a puzzle; the pieces of the puzzle are finding the missing pieces but they’re not in a box.  When I paint I feel inspired.  My imagination and a pat on the back inspire me.  Learning what went wrong last time and redefining my weaknesses and strong points so it won’t happen again.  Also looking back at flash points in my life, then trying to outdo what I’ve done before.  I live in a fantasy.


About HAPI

The Healing Arts Project, Inc. provides an avenue for persons in mental health and addiction recovery to express their creativity through a wide range of artistic endeavors.  In this way we raise awareness in the community and help combat stigma about these disorders, thus promoting understanding, acceptance, and success.


We want to inspire you to get involved with the Artists.  They are more than their illnesses and addictions.  They are family members, daughters, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, all with special talents. There is a stigma about being treated for mental health and addictions and we want you to help us erase the stigma.  Studies have shown that many people with mental illnesses are gifted with talents for painting, writing, music, acting.  Our society has been enriched by many famous people with mental illnesses including:

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Winston Churchill
  • Tipper Gore
  • Isaac Newton
  • Mozart
  • Tchaikovsky
  • Beethoven
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Jane Pauley
  • Vivien Leigh
  • Patty Duke
  • Kathy Cronkite
  • Mike Wallace
  • Buzz Aldrin
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Tennessee Williams
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Charles Dickens
  • Virginia Woolf


So Get Involved! You can take part and help HAPI in some way:


  • Adopt an Artist
  • Purchase HAPI note cards (new item in HAPI Shop) (click on HAPI Shop and section opens)
  • Purchase HAPI original artworks
  • Attend Exhibits
  • Read “Faith, Hope and Recovery in Letters”
  • Donate art materials, yarn, fabric
  • Assist with art classes, exhibits, outreach, events to promote artists
  • Make a tax-deductible donation to HAPI