Artis’s mental health is being affected due to the pandemic

The underfunding, unemployment and economic crisis of the art scene are causing psychological disorders in artists.

Woman painting

Artists have affected their mental health during the pandemic. / Photo: Pexels

LatinamericanPost| Ana Betancourt

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Leer en español: La salud mental de los artistas se ve afectada debido a la pandemia

The arts have been a human way to express ourselves, and a tool to manage psychological issues. The pandemic is causing mental disorders due to the lack of socialization and interaction, and the economic crisis. That is a reason why a lot of people are consuming or creating art resources (songs, movies, novels, poems, plays, and performances) as a way to cope with the lockdowns.

“The important thing is to be connected with your emotions and recognize them. Writing, painting, or watching a movie are strategies in which we can release everything we are feeling and thinking in order to externalize it. Sometimes is hard for us to talk about it with somebody else”, says Carolina Alarcon, a clinical psychologist.

However, even if the arts are a good alternative to release and relief ourselves from the stress, anxiety, and pressure of the pandemic they are not receiving enough support.  

“Art during this crisis gives possibilities psychologically of facing everything in a different way, of having dreams, and hope. The problem is that the artists themselves are damaged by the situation to the extent that I do not know how they can see this in a positive way to give motivation to everybody else”, says Nacho Riveros, a Venezuelan bassist.

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The unemployment, the economic crisis, and the confinement are causing mental disorders in some artists who are not receiving enough funding by the government.

“We want to manifest our deep rejection to the social and economic measures that the National Government has been setting up during these three months nationally. We have seen that the Colombian cultural ecosystem and the citizens in general are receiving a terrible treatment. Insofar as in the last weeks, we had to see some partners as the cultural manager Juan Carlos Cardona (from Cali), and the rapper Lady Joanna Arévalo (from Bogota) make the decision of killing themselves due to their precarious and desperate economic situation”, says the Mesa Amplia por el Arte y la Cultura (MAAC).

Some other artists are sticking with their creations, whereas they recognize that the way the government is managing the crisis is not taking care of the artists. “These are hard times for culture and art, but as artists, we can´t give up, that destroys us faster. However, if the government hasn´t supported the arts before, now it does it even less. The politicians and businessmen are always taking pictures with important artists. However, where is the support for the rest of us in these moments?”, says Walbert Pérez, a plastic artist.

The cultural meetings have been the first events to be canceled because they require the congregation of big amounts of people in one place. The art scene fears that when the lockdowns finish, the theatres, cinemas, galleries, museums, concerts will remain closed. There is also a possibility of starting up the cultural events, but the participation will be low because of the economic crisis and the fear that the people may have of getting infected by the COVID-19.

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“Let´s imagine the people confined in a place with actors, people reunited, where the chairs must be within 2 meters of distance. Most of the theatres in Bogota are for 50 people, now how would they survive with just 25 people participating? Will 25 people will actually be present? The artistic projects will suffer because the people would not want to go to any artistic space. We used to struggle before because the people did not want to go to the museums or the theatre, they only wanted to watch Netflix. But now with the fear of getting sick just a few will actually go. My outlook is sad and I am talking from that sadness”, says Libardo Mejia, a Colombian actor.

The arts are underfunded, these economic losses cause instability in the people´s lifestyle. Instability, as Alarcon (a clinical psychologist) says, “increases the fear and nervousness sensations, it creates discomfort”. That is why some artists are experiencing psychological disorders. The arts are a good tool to cope with the worldwide public health emergency, albeit if the ones who create artworks are not living in good conditions, their creative exercises and their professional development may be affected.

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