In Melissa Walker’s TED Talk on art therapy for soldiers with PTSD, I found it very informative and also compassionate. Melissa Walker is an art therapist according to the description, which captured my attention before the video even started playing. I did not consider art and art making to be something therapeutic, but throughout her talk, it has therapeutic and healing properties. Mental health has always carried an unnecessary and unfair stigma in health, and does not take as much precedence in the grand scheme of things like physical health does. As someone who values both, but especially mental health, it is enriching that even the simplest things like painting, drawing and mask-making can heal some pretty strong inner demons like the ones obtained in wartime. PTSF is a serious disorder and throughout war culture, has been described as everything but. It is people like Melissa Walker whose work does much to not only remove stigma, but to remove the pressure and stress off of affected soldiers and veterans.
This speech captured my attention namely because of her own experience within her family of PTSD. I can tell from how she spoke about her uncle and art therapy for soldiers that this is something near and dear to her heart. To me, that is important when doing things for other people—not getting a return on investment, but not even caring about such a return. One particular strength that I found in this speech is that Walker backed up the act of art making for soldiers with scientific evidence within the brain; art-making accesses the same sensory areas of the brain that interpret trauma (Walker, 2015). It is hard not to be compassionate when it comes to soldiers and veterans who fight for a country that when not in wartime, will be turned away and dismissed by the very institution they laid their lives on the line for.

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  • Walker, M. (2015, November). Melissa Walker: Art can heal PTSD’s invisible wounds. [Video file]. Retrieved from