NSU Occupational Therapy Students Share Mental Health Awareness During Clinical Training at 9Muses
Prior to starting my fieldwork experience at 9Muses Art Center, I was excited but did not know what to expect. As an occupational therapy student at Nova Southeastern University, I have studied different mental health conditions and ways that they typically affect a person’s daily life.
Spending two weeks this summer at 9Muses, I have learned more about mental health than I could ever learn from a textbook. Having the opportunity to get to know the members at 9Muses was truly a life-changing experience. My eyes were opened to the world of behavioral health services in more ways than I could ever imagine.
As members shared their stories with me about their journeys through recovery, I gained a much better understanding of what it must be like to live in a society that stigmatizes mental illness. It is clear that at 9Muses people are able to escape the stigma and have a safe space to be themselves. I think it is amazing that people are able to create beautiful works of art and participate in numerous group sessions in the very supportive environment of 9Muses.
Having the opportunity to engage in various activities at the center, not only did I bond with the members, but I also grew as a person and as a future healthcare provider. As I continue my journey in occupational therapy, I will carry forward everything that I have learned over the two weeks of being at 9Muses. Because of this experience, I now look at mental health in a completely different way and see people as people rather than focusing on labels. Thank you 9Muses for allowing me to have this incredible experience! I am forever grateful!
This past week at the 9Muses Art Center has been a truly eye-opening experience in the world of mental illness and behavioral health support services. One of my favorite things we did this week was simply taking part in art classes with the members. It was amazing to get to know them on a personal level and to also see the way that music and art can positively influence their lives.
I was also able to see how art and music can be used as an alternative form of therapy. So often in mental health, people go through a cycle of being admitted into the hospital, medicated, and released, only to be readmitted a short time later. The occupations of art and music can be used either alone or in combination with medications to prevent people from being repeatedly readmitted into the hospital.
My initial impression of the people at this site was that they were incredibly open to us being there. This made it so easy to sit down with people and just talk with them. Much of our first day was spent doing arts and crafts activities with them, and they were happy to share supplies and teach us what to do.
I absolutely love 9Muses. This has been an unforgettable experience. I had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people. What made the experience even better was the diversity among the members. The age range is about 18- 80+. Many of these members vary in ethnicity, come from different places and backgrounds, have experienced life in many different ways, and possess varied artistic skills. Even with all of these differences, 9Muses is an outlet where people can come together no matter how different they are. It is a safe space for individuals to come and not feel judged.
I was blown away by the artistic talents of the members. Some have been doing art for years, and others may have started recently. None the less, the art staff there help you work on techniques and trying new things. This place even gives you the opportunity to put all of your amazing work on display and sell your pieces. As an occupational therapy student, I could not have asked for a better experience of engaging with individuals in a mental health setting. I have learned such a great deal and would recommend 9Muses to anyone that I think can benefit from this gemstone.
At the end of the day the biggest thing that humans want, is to feel loved. Although all of these individuals have different issues going on with them, and they deal with all their daily struggles, they still show and want love. These are regular human beings just like you and have different capabilities that some of them, “mentally healthy” do not possess. The fact that these members always have a smile on their face, and they are always looking at the glass half full, brought so much joy into my heart. I think the biggest take away will always be, never judge any book by its cover and to always remember that there is someone out there with something worse going on in their life.
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