Mental Health & Arts Initiative

The 2018-2019 Mental Health and Arts Initiative (MHA) focused on opening up discussions on student mental health in classroom settings at San Francisco State University (SFSU), using arts-based interventions. The initiative was developed by the SFSU Health Humanities Affinity Group and funded by the College of Liberal and Creative Arts (LCA) Extraordinary Ideas Mini Grant, as well as Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. This initiative was borne out of faculty concern over the growing mental health crisis affecting students at SFSU and across the US. 13 faculty in 5 colleges collaborated on the initiative. Participating faculty integrated a mental health component in their curriculum and welcomed local artists into their classrooms, who led workshops focused on mental health and creative expression. SFSU students were also invited to submit creative works addressing mental health to be featured in a campus exhibit and at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The collective works of students displayed in both venues was entitled Speaking Our Minds. Images from MHA activities on campus and the Speaking Our Minds Exhibit are available here.