Adolescents enjoy healing benefits of art at mental health facility

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On any given day, up to 200 adolescents might be receiving care at Carrier Clinic, a nonprofit mental health care facility in Belle Mead.

Now, thanks to Carrier Clinic’s Healing Arts Initiative, adolescents will enjoy the therapeutic benefits of art each time they enter the adolescent dining area for a meal.

Completed this summer, a mural by New Jersey-based Changing Images Art Foundation now covers about one-third of the wall space in the dining area. The scene depicts images that are associated with Carrier Clinic’s Adolescent Residential programs: Bear, Butterfly, Dragonfly, Swan, Wolf, Sunflower and Lotus Lodges.

“Art can be therapeutic, calming and soothing,” said Donna Zaleski, director of Fund Development, Public Relations and Marketing at Carrier Clinic. “Having the Lodges depicted in a colorful and happy mural sends an impactful, positive message to our teens, helping build pride in themselves and their own treatment.”

“We have been doing things like this for 20 years,” said Arlene RB Sullivan, co-founder of Changing Images Art Foundation. “We do it to make a positive difference in the lives of those who see the murals. The idea behind what we created at Carrier Clinic was to beautify the space with cheerful art that represents the adolescents. We worked with Carrier Clinic many years ago and were delighted when Don (Parker, CEO) and Donna asked us to return.”

The mural was made possible by Carrier Clinic’s Healing Arts Initiative. Fully funded by donors’ charitable gifts, Carrier Clinic’s Healing Arts Initiative promotes the understanding that people heal in different ways and that it takes more than one type of therapy to build a healing environment. Part of this initiative works to create an improved visual experience for patients, visitors and staff.

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