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Monique's Story

Monique Reid is the heart of the Mental Health Inpatient Art Therapy group at the Abbie J. Lane. She does it because she lives it.

While doing these arts my mind became quiet and still. It was a break from the confusion I was facing as well as the depression. With a quiet mind it is easier to deal with things. I started the Inpatient Art Group to give back what had been given to me.

Monique has been struggling with mental illness since her early twenties. Over a period of four years, she was frequently hospitalized at the Abbie J. Lane. While there, she wanted to keep her hands busy, so she had her daughter bring in her knitting materials.


Monique began creating hats and donating them to those in need. She helped inpatients with their knitting, and started to paint again.

The group was a hit and supplies are now proudly funded through our Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia Capital District Mental Health Program Grants.

Art ranges from decoupage to drawing and painting. Coffee and tea is offered, while calming music plays in the background. Monique has established the ‘thought box’ project among participants: Individuals decorate a small box for writing and depositing positive thoughts each day. At the end of the week, they review and reflect on their uplifting messages.

 Even though she’s no longer living at the Abbie, Monique still attends Art Group every week. She volunteers, facilitating the group and offering support to her peers.

There are patients that have been there for a while and when they keep coming back to the group I know they’re coming back for their own reasons,” she says. "I notice how some of them start to come out of themselves a bit more every session. That is the main goal I wish to reach with the patients. I want to reach out to them and help them feel good about what they are creating and also about themselves.”

Thank you for helping us change the way people think about the power of creativity.

Story photography generously provided by Lori Buhlman.
Learn more about Lori's work