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Art can help alleviate mental distress

Published by Yvette Depaepe
Text and images by Matej Peljhan
Published the 15th of January 2021



I am Matej Peljhan, a Slovenian photographer.
By profession I am a clinical psychologist, therefore I can monitor the changes and consequences that occur in the mental and social life of people during a pandemic very closely.





The covid-19 pandemic began as a health crisis but spread just as rapidly as an economic, political, and social crisis of global proportions. On a daily basis, we can observe the decline in statistical indicators that point to social well-being but we are less aware of the stories of individuals and their psychological distress living behind four walls.

The closure of social life and restrictive measures play an important role in controlling the spread of the virus, but on the other hand they burden people and negatively affect their mental health. Restricted movement, social isolation, fear of infection, concerns about material security, work at home, loneliness, limited opportunities for sports and cultural activities are stressful for every individual.

In addition to the elderly, children and adolescents are particularly burdened here, having to suddenly and unpreparedly face distance learning, loss of peer contact, lack of personal space and other frustrations.






'Distance Learning'


'A Day in Isolation'





The rapid development of events not only dictates a demand for the activation of all scientific potentials, but also calls for a response of art. At this time art can help alleviate personal mental distress , but it can also help to raise awareness of the seriousness of social conditions and to take active social action.







I try to offer professional help to individuals as much as I can and I also remain active as an artist. I try to present the various problems, issues and dilemmas that people face through the photographic medium. I am not not using documentary photography, but rather staying at home and with the help of the props I have on hand and family members helping me as models, I create images that speak for themselves. 









I read this article with great interest. What you talk about and do is relevant in our time. It is very good that you can help people in such difficult moments of their lives. Thank you for such necessary work and your creativity, and special thanks to Yvette
I really liked your personal point of view and your particular type of photography dear Matej Peljhan,Especially the correct use of tools and media are signs of your vision maturity,Thank you and I wish you all the best my friend and you dear Yvette To publish these works.
wonderful collection concrats to all authors!
I read this article with great interest and I really appreciated these excellent images which, as you also said, speak for themselves. I think we all need to be encouraged and to look to the future with caution but also with a lot of hope... Thanks Matej for your great contribution and thanks also to Yvette.
Good article and creative solutions, both visual and mental Matej!
Thanks a lot for your fine contribution to the magazine, Matej! Respect for the great job you're doing and for remaining the artist you are to help alleviate mental distress in these hard times. Cheers, Yvette