Group Updates + Additions to Final Project (Focus on Mental Health)

The health group has found the order we would like to present in. We are planning to follow this order:

Harrison Chang: Herd immunity

Shiraj: Vitamin D / Pandemic and sunlight

Tristan Wesson: Pharmacogenomics – Nicotine

Rhea Sahu: Masks during the COVID 19

Seda Shirinian: Art therapy & mental health during COVID 19

Marie Bae: Rewiring our mindsets on disease  

Amirah: Body Image and Anxiety

Jae Su: Hormone therapy for transgender people


We are having some trouble with the flow from one topic to the next because all of our topics are unique, so we think we can make subtopics.  I envision these topics to include the science behind COVID, protecting ourselves from COVID and mental health during these times. However, this is still in discussion. Additionally, I believe the ending point of one’s paper should connect with the beginning of the next person’s topic to make the article flow.

For my research, I have decided to focus more on mental health during COVID-19 rather than art therapy. I will offer art therapy as an approach to combating some of the internal battles we face with our minds and perhaps suggest advancements in art therapy during the age of COVID-19. However, I would like to focus more on rates of suicide and increased feelings of depression and anxiety. I will offer art therapy as an option to calm down and relax during quarantine. There are a lot of reasons to be worried as some individuals have lost their jobs, filed for unemployment, cannot pay their rent or are dealing with loved ones getting sick. According to YouGov’s COVID-19 tracker, 3 in 5 Americans fear contracting COVID-19. Additionally, according to a poll by Healthline, Americans are showing more signs of fear, anxiety and depression compared to what we are used to before COVID-19. We can say that our next challenge is to flatten the mental health curve.

Some of the reasons may include college graduates facing economic uncertainty, adults who must balance work-life and home-life in the same space and front-line responders who are risking themselves every day to help others. As of right now, U.S. adults are eight times more likely to meet the criteria for serious mental distress when compared to 2018. According to a late May 2020 release of Census Bureau data, one third of Americans report clinically significant symptoms of anxiety or clinical depression. One study completed by the Well Being Trust (nonprofit organization) estimates that the virus will lead to anywhere from 27,644 to 154,07 additional US deaths due to social isolation, depression or anxiety by overdose or suicide.

I suggest that individuals who may feel trapped use art therapy as a freedom of expression, which is much needed during these times. Art therapy has shown to improve cognitive and sensorimotor functions. This can, as a result, help individuals feel more calmness with themselves. However, art therapy on its own cannot cure depression, so it is important to think of art therapy as more of a helpful integrated approach rather than treatment.


Outline of Final Project:

  1. How has mental health changed during COVID-19?

    1. Anxiety & depression

    2. Suicide rates

  2. What are some reasons mental health is becoming a pressing issue?

    1. Address unemployment

    2. Address working front-lines

    3. Address worry of getting sick

  3. What do new studies show about rates of suicide and increased depression?

    1. Introduce study, how it was conducted, findings

    2. Introduce second study, how it was conducted, findings

  4. Introduce art therapy as an option for relieving stress.

    1. Benefits: strengthens neural connections, relieves stress, freedom of expression

    2. Explain that art therapy alone does not cure depression...must be supplemented

    3. Discuss types of art therapy that are typically used, how it is formatted traditionally

  5. Discuss art therapy during times of COVID-19.

    1. Telehealth

    2. Hospital programs for patients and front line workers

  6. Examples of projects completed inside

    1. Using nature/bridging outside world with the inside

    2. Online art therapy

    3. Therapy in nursing homes

  7. Provide a better connection of art therapy + mental health

    1. Include study of long term effects on mental health

  8. How to address more serious concerns of mental health outside of art therapy?