Portland program uses art to help teens with mental health worries
PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - In the midst of a mental health epidemic for teens around Oregon, a local organization is working to use art and expression as a relief from stress and anxiety.
The organization, Ok You, recently invited teens from around the Portland area to participate in a friendly competition, called the Ok Challenge, to share their ideas for promoting emotional wellness through art.
Grant High School Junior Francesca Moon Gordon has been involved in the program since middle school. They have had a conscious relationship with their anxiety since their counselor at the time encouraged them to express their feeling about anxiety through different projects.
“And so just taking the time to stop and do like some art or just like read or write helps me to calm down and like stay in the moment,” said Moon Gordon.
According to the U.S. Department of Human Services, the percentage of young people experiencing clinically elevated anxiety symptoms nearly doubled during the first year of the pandemic. Now, one in five teens are dealing with high levels of anxiety.
“I think talking to people is the most important thing, and I think a lot of kids my age or even younger, we’re not getting that,” said Moon Gordon.
The finalists of the Ok Challenge will be announced at a celebration at the Portland Art Museum on Sunday, May 7. Each finalist will be awarded a prize, and their projects will be available on the Ok You website and YouTube channel for counselors, teachers, and families trying to promote mental wellness.
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