DOH distributes ‘art therapy kits’ to Taal kid evacuees
LUCENA CITY, Quezon, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has started distributing “art therapy kits” to children in evacuation centers to help them cope with the trauma brought by being placed in shelters as Taal Volcano remained restive.
“With their usual routine disrupted by the closing of schools and the increased worries and concerns from their families around them, they can be considerably upset and distressed,” Paulina Calo, DOH regional mental health outcome coordinator in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region, said in a statement on Sunday.
She said the art kits would help ensure that children cooped up in shelters would still be able to explore their creativity through art and have a means to “express their feelings.”
The Department of Social Welfare and Development has reported that as of July 10, at least 2,418 families composed of 8,595 individuals were displaced by the Taal Volcano eruption. It said 1,086 families, or 3,789 persons, are presently taking temporary shelter in 23 evacuation centers in the towns of Agoncillo, Balete, Balayan, Laurel and Nasugbu in Batangas province.
Another 1,337 families, or 4,821 persons, have been temporarily staying with their relatives and friends in different parts of the Calabarzon.
Calo and her team started distributing on Friday the art therapy kits to children in evacuation centers in the towns of Agoncillo, Balayan and Balete. Each kit contains a sketch pad, pencil, sharpener, eraser, crayons, water colors and coloring books.
Art therapy uses art and artistic mediums to help people explore thoughts and emotions in unique and visually expressive ways, the DOH explained.
“They (young evacuees) now have a creative outlet to process their emotions and channel their energy during their stay in evacuation centers,” Calo explained.
She said making art, like drawing, provided an activity that “promotes calmness and peace of mind because it focuses one’s attention into something comforting.”
The DOH said it aimed to deliver at least 500 art therapy kits to young evacuees.
The DOH has also previously dispatched five mental health and psychosocial support teams to provide psychosocial support to evacuees.
—DELFIN T. MALLARI JR.
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