How Do Craft Kits Help Veterans?
Heal Vets arts and craft kits benefit veterans in several ways. They aid in rehabilitation, restore coordination and impaired motor skills, improve attention spans and concentration and relieve symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions.
Clinical Settings Where Arts and Crafts are Effectively Being Used
- Nursing homes
- Outpatient programs
- Inpatient hospitalization
- Substance abuse treatment centers
- Psychiatric facilities (inpatient and outpatient)
- Community health clinics
- Rehabilitation centers
- Physical therapy centers
- Assisted living centers
- Burn units
- Health & wellness centers
- Vet centers
What is Craft Therapy?
Craft therapy is an adjunct therapeutic modality incorporated by various disciplines (e.g., occupational, recreation and art therapists) used to improve cognitive, neurologic, and sensory-motor skills and foster self-esteem and emotional healing by focusing the brain on completing detailed creative tasks.
Research shows that craft therapy — which includes activities such as woodworking, painting, building models, jewelry making, and more — helps treat emotional, physical, and psychological wounds of war, including PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, depression and anxiety, making it an important part of the healing process for both active-duty service members and veterans.
- Empirical evidence suggests that craft therapy has a positive impact on brain function.
- Evidence suggests that a richly stimulating environment increases the number of neuronal connections in the brain.
- Creative activities such as craft therapy integrate left brain functions (verbal, analytical, detail-oriented) with right brain functions (intuitive, emotional).
- Craft projects such as building model boats and airplanes, making jewelry and wallets, or creating household items and works of art improve cognitive, neurological, and sensory motor skills by focusing the brain on cognition and manual skills.
- Research shows that craft therapy can foster a form of emotional healing that medicine and bed rest alone can’t achieve alone.
- Research also shows that craft therapy helps treat emotional, physical, and psychological wounds of war, including PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, depression, and anxiety.
- Providers of craft kits work closely with veterans and health professionals to make sure each kit is matched to the specific needs and abilities of each veteran.
- Participation in craft therapy can help build self-worth and self-esteem in veterans.
- Learning and doing crafts can help veterans focus on the present instead of living in the past.