WORKING WITH FAMILY AND CARERS
3rd Year Unit BA Community Mental Health and AOD. (Chisholm TAFE)
Students of this unit study through a combination of theoretical and practical (experiential) learning. They consider the role of healthy eating, sharing meals, exercise, creativity, conversation and community in the support and wellbeing of families and carers of people with a mental health or AOD issue.
The role of pleasure and fun in wellbeing (and recovery) cannot be underestimated. We include creative practice in many of our classes and this light-hearted drawing game was a fine finish to a whole day of study for this unit.
A piece of paper is folded into three. The first drawing is of a head. Drawers are encouraged to draw whatever they wish – animals, humans, and made-up creatures. This drawing is then concealed with only a tiny piece of the neck remaining on view. The drawing is passed onto the next person who draws the body – without knowing what the head looks like. This too is concealed with only a tiny piece of the body showing. The drawing is then passed on again; this time the legs are drawn.
There is lots of laughter when the drawings are opened because they are always funny. I recall with much fondness, playing this drawing game with the Unatti girls in Nepal – the laughter that accompanied the opening of the drawings was beyond joy! They had willingly come along on this drawing journey – without being given clues to the outcome. Watching them play with the drawings was priceless.
Why do we do this? Firstly, because anyone can join in. It is not a serious drawing exercise. Secondly, because it requires a few people to work together. Thirdly, because it gives participants a chance to let their imagination go wild. And it makes us laugh, and that can be a wonderful thing especially when feeling overwhelmed or burdened by the difficulties of caring. And, it is an excellent and light-heartedness way for community workers to engage and play and get to know their young clients.