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Art therapy gives a voice to people battling mental health obstacles at the Apalachee Center

Over 100 pieces of art on display
Posted at 9:49 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 21:49:16-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Works of art are giving people a new perspective on the struggles people face living with mental illnesses.

The Apalachee Center opened its door for a one day art gallery bringing stories of the artists behind them to life.

"Just felt like I was missing something. Like I wasn't being heard in the way I wanted to be heard so when I stumbled upon art therapy and I started within my own process I saw that this is really bigger than me" said April Fitzpatrick.

April Fitzpatrick is an art therapist at the Apalachee Center in Tallahassee.

She said she has a history of battling with her own mental health issues and art therapy gave her a voice to express herself.

"It increases opportunity for people to ask questions. I think that's what's missing a lot in therapy is that we don't ask enough questions and art therapy really gets to the core and beyond the surface" said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick works with patients as young as six years old.

She said when they're creating art it gives them the ability to transfer what and how their feeling into that project.

Monday, more than 100 pieces of artwork created by patients at the Apalachee Center were put on display.

"Being able to articulate how they are feeling. Being able to articulate some of the struggles there having its just hard and part of that is society doesn't tend to encourage people with these illnesses to speak up" said Jay Reeve.

Jay Reeve, CEO of the Apalachee Center, said patients can get frustrated if they're struggling with communicating and that causes them to shut down.

Their art, allows them to express themselves.

"Some of the scariest parts of a mental illness are the suffering in silence and for folks who are not as adaptive speech sometimes the thing they can do is to create art" said Reeve.

Through their creations, the hope is that people will get a clearer picture and understanding of the challenges they face dealing with mental illness.