Chapter 3

Creativity Helps

3.1 Why mentally unstable people might choose an artistic profession

'Death in the sickroom' , Edvard Munch 1893

A mad or mentally unstable person has considerable difficulties surviving, and especially, in gaining respect in society. It is obviously not possible for such a person to choose just any profession because the nature of his/her condition allows for only very few activities. Like children - whom the mad often resemble in their uninhibited and otherworldly behaviour - the mad are often treated with a large degree of disrespect and cruelty. The reason for this may be due to the fact that the mad often depend on help in order to survive. This help is usually provided by society. However, all to often this help simply involves institutionalising the affected person.

Unfortunately this approach can do more harm than good and be entirely unsuitable in that patients may often only lack a certain understanding or ability to communicate.

exception : Louis Soutter , drawing intensely inside an institution

For example, if someone cannot make themselves understood via language ( possibly due to slight disability of the speech centre ) , they need help and encouragement in communicating through other means, not to be locked away in an asylum. This kind of help society is in general not prepared to give. Since the need to communicate is a basic one it is no surprise that those who cannot express themselves linguistically will seek other means of communication such as visual arts, music, dance.