As of August, 2022, “more than two thirds of children reported at least 1 traumatic event by age 16” according to an article published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
“Traumatic events such as the death or incarceration of a parent, a drug addiction or mental health issues affecting family members are considered an “adverse childhood experience,” experts explained. Just one of those experiences in childhood is associated with a heightened risk of using illicit drugs, abusing alcohol, attempting suicide, perpetrating violence and suffering from chronic diseases.” (The Baltimore Sun, Aug 2019)
Imagine a world where students can communicate to their teachers, either in structured or organic learning environments, that they are in some form of emotional distress. A widely accepted theory of basic emotions and their expressions, developed Paul Ekman, suggests we have six basic emotions. They include sadness, happiness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust. (Psychology Today) They are said to be hardwired in each of us.
Through a series of Maker Events, participants would engage in therapeutic art sessions where they would make emotion indicators in the way of tags, handheld fans and circular spheres. At the beginning of the session participants learn about the importance and responsibilty of emotional awareness and transparency. In some sessions guest artists will then explain their process of purging or engaging with their emotion. After, participants will begin to make tags that represent up to the 7 emotion categories. During the time block, the collective group will make as many tags as possible which will later be sorted and donated to partner learning organizations.
What’s Being Addressed
This could be the first time some participants are being introduced to positive and safe environments to express emotions. This is something organizations may continue as efforts progress in helping to achieve healing through art with students in their program.
Who Developed This
Developed by Ebony Kenney, Researcher and Nomita Advanti, Licensed Art Therapist of Ripefruit Foundation.
Learn more about 6 main emotions here.