A brief outline of the project

The “Arts4Life” Programme is a Suicide Prevention Programme initiated by The Centre
for Creative Arts Therapy Penang and the Penang !ducation Council" The initiative is
intended to address the mental needs of children and adolescents in schools #ho may
present #ith potential emotional and psychological ris$s that could increase their
vulnerability to suicide"
The strength of this initiative lies in utili%ing a creative arts and play therapy
approach in the screening and identification of children &at ris$' and a therapeutic
intervention modality that allo#s for the enhancement of problem solving s$ills #ith
regard to the suicidal dilemma through creativity" As a medium creative arts and play
has proven to be an ideal medium in addressing sensitive and potentially &taboo'
subjects li$e suicide especially for children and adolescents" This approach ma$es
such helping interventions accessible #hen they are couched in positive shades instead
of the potentially negative reverberations that the subject of suicide traditionally attracts"
Creative arts and play provides a #indo# through #hich to e(plore unconscious and
conscious motivation found through the art#or$ and narratives by e(ploring a child)s
related fantasies dreams daydreams thoughts and feelings.
The Implementation Process
The CCAT * “Arts4Life” Programme #ill formally be +oll ,ut in planned strategic
phases and programme information #ill be diseminated #ith our eventual target to all
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primary and secondary schools in Penang"
The Initial Event
Schools #ill contact and invite CCAT to conduct an “event” #hich comprises of
• A -.hour Play and Creative Arts group #or$shop for pupils . during #hich an arts
assesment activity #hich enables vulnerable ris$ factors lo# self.esteem
isolation aggression depression etc can be scored and identified" /+a#ley
Silver's . 0ra#.A.Story1" This screening approach can provide a visual and
narrative communication of past present and future potential suicidal ideation"
Pupils #ho are unfamiliar #ith pictorial e(pression or story creation is more li$ely
to reveal such ideations through their art#or$ and narratives than someone #ho
is familiar #ith verbal language and is as$ed to communicate his or her suicidal
intentions directly" 2t also avoids potential psychological and emotional resistance
and barrier to addressing a socially and cultural charge taboo for many" The ne(t
part of the event provides pupils #ith collage of vignettes through a story3drama
presentation for #hich mental health issues such as bullying abuse domestic
violence etc" and the subse4uent negative emotions3behavioral reactions as #ell
as adaptive help.see$ing behaviors are related through the implicit3unconscious
identification #ith the characters thus offers the potentiality of raising a#areness
of the contingent issues involved and of the prosocial behaviors available"
Participating pupils #ill also be &gifted' #ith &slogan tags' containing tips and
contact3help information reinforcing the &Arst4Life' in various accessible items
such as boo$mar$s badges stationery etc"
• An 5 hour po#erpoint and 67A session #ill be offered to all school staff
teachers counsellors etc" The session #ill focus on the critical role that staff can
contribute to such a programme" 2t #ill highlight e(emplars of ho# to identify
potential vulnerable children through their manifest behaviours art#or$
narratives etc" 2t #ill also provide e(amples of helpful responses #hen
encountering pupils #ith such needs" 2t #ill outline ho# they can direct vulnerable
children for further help assessment or support" 2t #ill provide referral details for
CCAT for the “Arts4Life” 8roup#or$ programme or for individual creative arts
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The Follow-Through Phase
• CCAT #ill return to the school after the initial event #hen the 0AS forms have
been group scored and pupils identified that are deemed to be potentially in need
of intervention" The identified pupils #ill be offered a second assessment using
0AS * 9orm : to verify the consistency of the initial result" This event #ill be
shorter and the group #ill be smaller #ith the main activity being the 0AS. 9orm
:" Liaisoning #ith school staff of the pupils identified in obtaining additional
relevant data of the identified pupils #ill be important feature of the follo#.through
process as CCAT see$ to #or$ in partnership #ith schools and its staff as #e see
their indispensable role in the “Arts4Life” programme"
• ;hen the scores identified vulnerable pupils are verified these #ill be
communicated to the school <eadteacher or an assigned coordinator" These
pupils #ill be offered an = #ee$s Creative Arts Therapy 8roup#or$ programme
by CCAT /see belo#1" The school #ill communicate the invitation of the offer to
the parent or legal guardians of the pupil concern" The parent or guardian #ill
then contact CCAT to e(press and indicate their decision of the offer" CCAT #ill
communicate and liaise #ith the school of the outcome and evaluation if the
pupil proceed to attend the = #ee$s group#or$ programme"
The Follow-Up Phase
• CCAT “Arts4Life” programme have t#o = #ee$s group#or$ programme *
0eveloping Self.!steem and 0eveloping Creative >indfulness * made available
to pupils #ho have been identified as potentially vulnerable through the 0AS
assessments" These groups are also made available for direct referrals of
children from educational social medical community agencies or organisations
as #ell individual counsellors3therapists" +eferrals #ill be attended to by CCAT to
determine #hich group #ould be more appropriate and even if its is more
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appropriate to commence #ith individual #or$ prior to group#or$" 2f appropriate
pupils #ill be on a #aiting list maintained until the = #ee$s group#or$
programme is ready to commence"
• Self.!steem group may be more approproiate and relevant to those pupils #ho
have features charactersitic of lo# or negative self.perception pessimism
depression etc and Creative >indfulness groups for those pupils #ith features
characteristic of agression impulse control lo# attention threshold etc in the
0AS assessment"
• !valuation of change and progress #ill be monitored and evaluated through
observations of behaviour #ithin and outside of the group e"g" from
parents3teachers as #ell as through the 0AS reassessment and other creative
arts assessment modality during and at the end of the = #ee$s group
• A brief summary report #ill be provided to the referral school or agencies of the
individual at the conclusion of the = #ee$s programme and any
recommendations if relevant #ill be made"
Current Update on the CCAT – “Arts!i"e# Programme
CCAT have piloted the creative arts and play #or$shop part of programme at - centres
at Penang island #ith -5 pupils aged ?.5- years old and using 0ra#.A.Story /0AS1 for
the initial and follo#.through assessment in verifying the initial scores" ? pupils identified
as being potentially vulnerable have been invited them to participate in CCAT = #ee$s
group#or$ programme" Training of group#or$ facilitors for both group#or$ programme
#ill commence in September through to 0ecember through an action learning set and it
is anticipated that the group#or$ programme #ill be rolling out in the ne# year #ith
supervision and on.going consultancy support" ;or$ is at hand to produce and
deseminated the “Arts4Life” programme brochure and engaged one or t#o selected
primary schools during September to 0ecember period and #ill provide the potential
group membership for the group#or$ programme in the @e# Aear"
22nd August 2013
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