Background Engaging in a creative process can help improve social functioning (Lefevre, Economos, Tricou, et al., 2020) and reduce symptom intensity (Collette, Guell, Farinas, et al., 2020), anxiety and depression (Bosman, Bood, Scherer-Rath, at al., 2021) for palliative individuals. The pandemic suspended all in-person creative services at two hospices, so a move to virtual support was required. An email series, ‘ArtSi’, was developed to continue providing creative arts support remotely.
Aims Weekly emails were designed at enhancing wellbeing through creative practice and generating a sense of connection (Jensen, Bonde, 2018). They offered a channel for patients, carers and bereaved individuals to stay present and mindful, relieve stress, play, momentarily forget distressing factors and find relief from overwhelming emotions.
Method Each Monday, a creative prompt/activity was emailed to 280+ individuals who the hospices support. Participants were encouraged to reply with a photo of their completed artwork by the following Sunday, so everyone’s creations could be shared together in the next week’s email - creating a sense of connection and community.
Results The email series spanned over 20 weeks and we received 500+ artworks from individuals (emailed and physical). Participants reported that they looked forward to receiving the new email each Monday as it often provided some light on darker days and a way to find pleasure and healing through enjoyment, creation and communication.
Conclusion The ArtSi emails were successful in keeping us in touch with those who we usually support through the arts, and highlighted the positive influence that creative practice and reflection can have on an individual’s life (Stuckey & Nobel, 2010). The email series provided a means for continued engagement and connection (especially for those who were particularly vulnerable or socially isolated) throughout the difficult and uncertain lockdown period.
‘ArtSi has really kept me sane during lockdown. Once the art journaling sessions at the hospice had to end, I wasn’t sure how to go forward… ArtSi and keeping creative have been a real life-saver.’
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