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Samoa Art Centre illustrates why the arts are so popular in mental health

October 10, 2014

This year, Samoa’s Tiapapata Art Centre started working with mental health rehabilitation services and community groups to develop an ongoing art program called Fa’alaiga o Lagona- Expressions of Emotion.

Featured in Mental As… a campaign run by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as part of Mental Health Week in Australia, this project is planning to hold the first public exhibition of works next month.

 Asia Australia Mental Health have worked with funding partnersABC International Development’s PACMAS program to provide experience and technical skills in art and mental health practices. Dr Patricia Fenner, senior lecturer & coordinator of the Master of art therapy  program at Melbourne’s La Trobe University will be in Samoa for the exhibition next month as part of the team working on developing the art and health initiative. In many countries, art therapy is very often employed to help people deal with the negative psychosocial effects of trauma and illness including depression, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders. It is also used to support the needs of children and adults with developmental disorders.

Art and health initiatives are increasingly popular in supporting people with severe medical conditions where the illness or its treatment has negative psychosocial impacts such as in cancer care and in palliative care. Art therapy can also be employed to prevent relapse and promote resiliance. As it has high acceptability amongst users and is cost effective, art therapy has the potential to be more broadly employed throughout mental health care.

This project is developing new partnerships to explore health promotion which can utilise Samoa’s cultural focus on drawing strength from the community.

  For further information, please see

SVSG painting_r

Images courtesy of Galumalemana Steven Percival

More photos can be viewed here

Visit Tiapapata Art Centre on to see more about this project.  A short introductory to Galumalemana Steven Percival’s work is also available here