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Magnify Wellness: Your Mental Health Hub
By: Jennifer Vu
Magnify Wellness is a free iOS app dedicated to improving mental and emotional health. We provide a wide range of features such as mood check-ins, a prompted journal, adventure games, advice guides, and a space to connect to either a real-life counselor or a chatbot!
Over the past few weeks, we’ve explored the intricate connections between mental health, mental illness, creative expression, psychology, and art therapy. Notably, the use of artistic, emotional, and spiritual expression in healing enhances biomedical views rather than contradicting them. In many medical settings, patients focus on their illness, symptoms, and identity with illness. Creative work enables them to broaden their relationship with the entirety of the experience and healing process through imagination and sense-making.
Celebrities aren’t exempt from suffering with their mental health — they are human like the rest of us and have their own experiences with mental wellness. Past experiences combined with heightened societal pressures may begin to pile up, catalyzing depression or anxiety. Many celebrities have advocated for ending the stigma surrounding mental illness, including Demi Lovato, Chris Evans, and Ryan Reynolds. However, it is just as important to be advocating for mental wellness.
For as long as art has existed, artists have been using it as a method of self-expression and an outlet for mental health. Research has found a higher prevalence of mental illness among individuals who have pursued a creative career, such as writers, artists, musicians, composers, and those involved with theater, suggesting that people with mental illness may gravitate toward art to express their inner turmoil. Household names in the art world such as Judy Garland, Ludwig van Beethoven, Ernest Hemingway, Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Woolf, and Robert Schumann have suffered from Bipolar Disorder. A study conducted by the Karolinska Institute found that writers have a higher risk of suffering from anxiety, schizophrenia, and substance abuse. They concluded that writers were 121% more likely to be bipolar, as well as 50% more likely to commit suicide. Mental illness also affects creativity and heavily impacts artistic expression, which is often visible in an artist’s work.
The link between art and mental health has existed for as long as the first creation of art. Though it may not have occurred in controlled settings like the art therapy of today, artistic expression has been an emotional outlet in some capacity for a long time. Some of the most famous art pieces in the world were created as a method of self-directed therapy. For example, Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night is part of a larger collection that was painted when Van Gogh was a patient in the Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in 1889. The dark colors and forceful, swirling brush strokes in the painting are thought to indicate his inner turmoil. Countless other artists have similarly used art to reckon with difficulties in their lives, and among the most famous are Jean-Michel Basquiat, Edvard Munch, and Louise Bourgeois.