The act of creating art has proven to be valuable for youth in a myriad of ways. It encourages fine motor skills, helps with problem-solving, allows the artist to process a range of emotions, and is, quite simply, fun.
This March, the National Runaway Safeline is recognizing Youth Art Month, an annual celebration that encourages support for quality school art programs and promotes art material safety. Organized by the Council for Art Education, Youth Art Month uses student exhibitions, public art works, art festivals, and school events to highlight the importance of art education.
We at NRS believe in the power and importance of art education. Art is a fundamental tool for self-expression, and according to neuroscientists, creating art is even beneficial for a person’s mental health. Art therapy, for example, is considered an evidence-based intervention for mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, as it can decrease stress levels and induce positive thinking.
According to the NRS 2020 Crisis Services and Prevention Report, nearly one-quarter of young people who contacted NRS’ hotline and online crisis services cited mental health issues as a reason for their outreach in 2020. Nationwide, studies have shown that youth mental health issues have increased and intensified throughout the two years of the pandemic. It’s hard not to wonder whether greater exposure to art might positively impact this mental health crisis.
We encourage kids to explore the arts as a creative way to express thoughts, feelings, and opinions. In honor of Youth Art Month, the National Runaway Safeline invites children, teens, and young adults to submit their visual artwork to us!
All month long, we will be sharing submitted artwork and giving the artists a well-deserved shout out on our Instagram. We encourage participants to send art that conveys an inspiring message, possibly in support of runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth. Whether you are reading this and want to submit yourself, or you know a young person you’re connected to who might be interested, we invite submissions anytime during March here!