News on Healing Power of Art Therapy for Upheaval and Conflicts

Taken from the The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world’s largest humanitarian network, website,

European Mental Health Week: The healing power of art helps people cope with the upheaval caused by conflict.

In a world where stress and anxiety seem to be constant companions, the creative arts provide solace, comfort and a complement to traditional psychotherapies.

In the first few months after Svitlana arrived in Burgas, a city on Bulgaria's eastern Black Sea coast, she lived in a shelter and made money by playing violin on the streets. The former music teacher who fled conflict in Ukraine also received support from the Bulgarian Red Cross in the form of food, clothes and hygiene kits. Eventually, she found a job at the Burgas Opera House as a stage assistant.

Now Svitlana is able to share her creative gifts in the form of music and art therapy sessions for other people impacted by the conflict in her homeland.

When people hear a song in their native language, from their homeland, it makes them feel better,” she says, adding that music and art – and the conversations it leads to – also help people feel more comfortable and integrated in their new communities.

Svitlana’s music and art therapy sessions are just one of many examples of how Red Cross National Societies in Europe are using people’s inherent creativity to help them through a tumultuous and difficult time. Read more.