1st ART4MORE '07

1st ‘Art for More’ Festival 2007

World Mental Health Day, 10th October 2007

6th October 2007 – This year’s World Mental Health Day marks a world where the effect of cultural differences on all spheres of life is constantly changing. One out of four people experiences at least one major episode of mental illness during their lifetime, while direct or indirect mental ill- health effects can be strongly felt throughout the European Union.

An estimated 18.4 million European citizens aged 18-65 suffer from severe depression, while another 58,000 people commit suicide every year – an alarming figure exceeding that of car accident or HIV/AIDS deaths per year. Evidence also shows that suicide attempt rates are ten times higher. The modern way of life increases the risk of mental illness even more, with all the attendant life-threatening or fatal complications and major morbidity.

In Greece, the approximate number of people with mental health problems is 50,000. Constantly rising rates have reached fourfold figures over the past thirty years. These rates are relatively low, compared to those in other European countries.

The raging fires that broke out recently have had a particularly traumatic effect on people, especially children, who either actually experienced them first-hand or watched them on television. Setting children apart, it should be noted that they may show distinct signs of distress, depending on their age. Pre-school aged children may regress to an earlier stage of development, suffer from various types of phobias or form a fixation to another person. They may also have sleeping or eating disorders and physical complaints. How can people exposed to such a traumatic event be helped?

In line with its intervention practice and with the goal to help the people in need of social aid, K.S.D.E.O. Edra sent members of staff and volunteers to the Peloponnese.

Readily responding to the stimulus coming from the disastrous fires in the Peloponnese and the severe impact they had on the mental makeup of the local populations, Edra organized three-day events titled ‘Art and Health Festival’, which took place at the Netherlands Institute in Athens (11 Makri St, Plaka) from 12th-14th October 2007.

The purpose of the festival was to point out the difference in progress between two groups of people:

  • Those who had experienced similar natural disasters earlier in the past and had eventually recovered with regard to mental health after receiving systematic treatment and
  • Those who experienced a natural disaster over the past year (2007)

The vital message conveyed was that active, timely intervention can be equally effective for the second group, as well. The festival featured public discussions, exhibitions and many more.

Through art, the ‘Art4More’ Festival aims at promoting an alternative attitude to health as a philosophy of life, rather than absence of symptoms. Its central message is that traumatic effects of disaster experienced at some point in life are reversible. Along these lines, the festival voiced hope for the fire-hit populations. Working out methods and recruiting volunteers should be an overriding concern for the wider community.

Take a look at some of the 1st ‘Art4More’ Festival highlights here.

Take a look at the festival poster here.


Spot by "ΕΔΡΑ"

8th Art4more