04 Apr Activities: music, exercise, sewing, relaxation, bakery…
A significant part of the therapeutic activity that we carry out in the Mental Health Unit of the San Benito Menni Health Center in Monrovia is based on the realization of activities that, besides having a ludic or entertainment component for our patients, help them in their rehabilitation process, provide them with useful skills for their use in daily life and even help them in the future to have a small source of income once they leave our Unit.
It is important for mentally ill patients to take control of their habits regarding instrumental activities of daily living, and therefore we work in areas such as taking care of their appearance and their clothes, which they learn to wash themselves.
Some of the activities that our patients enjoy most are those related to music and dancing, which is also an activity that allows them to exercise.
For the same purpose, we have gymnastics sessions, outdoor walks —now suspended due to the Covid pandemic— and we organize kickball games as well.
Other activities are aimed at relaxation or concentration, which we achieve through specific sessions of relaxation and proprioception of the body, in the first case, or through tasks such as coloring stencils or games of concentration and strategy, such as checkers.
We also do activities aimed at cognitive stimulation, such as reading the newspaper together or watching television, and then commenting on the news to encourage reflection and improve social skills. Other tasks of the same style contemplate the use of language, reading or numeracy.
In our Unit we think that in order for the rehabilitation of our patients to be as effective as possible, we must provide them with skills that will allow them to earn some income when they leave our center, as a means of social integration into the community, and to this end we have implemented sewing and food preparation classes, such as kneading and baking bread. We also have classes in making necklaces and bracelets, and a vegetable garden where our patients plant and care for various vegetable types.
These are all activities that, together with the prescription of the appropriate medication for each case, aim to make our patients’ lives outside our center as stable and integrated as possible.