Thursday October 11, 2012
Mental illness no obstacle to creativity
GEORGE TOWN: K. Murali is no batik expressionist painter but he enthralled participants at the Penang Hospital World Mental Health Day celebration with his creativity.
The crowd watched in awe as Murali steadily and meticulously mixed colours and transferred them onto a piece of batik cloth to form a unique painting of a butterfly at the Occupational Therapy exhibition booth yesterday.
It was certainly a rare opportunity for the visitors to watch a batik-painting process being demonstrated by a patient suffering from schizophrenia.
Murali, 32, was diagnosed with the mental illness some 12 years ago and is on medication.
“I am very happy to do this. I like doing this kind of activity,” he said shyly.
Hospital occupational therapist Ooi Siew Chew said Murali developed schizophrenic symptoms due to the constant bullying that he received from his peers during his school days.
“Even when he entered college, he still became a victim of constant bullying and that affected his self-esteem, resulting in him losing confidence. In college, he started becoming depressed and eventually had schizophrenia,” she said.
Ooi said the batik-painting activity was one of the therapeutic media methods to encourage patients like Murali to have contact with reality.
“The painting activity helps increase their concentration and occupies their minds with purposeful thinking. It would help them to be more productive.
“Although medication is important, supportive therapy such as this is also needed to help patients recover better,” she added.
Themed “Depression: A Global Crisis”, this year's World Mental Health Day was organised by Penang Hospital and Penang Hospital Psychiatry Welfare Body.