Ian's cover image
Ian

Ian Drayton

Year of Award: 2016 Award State: Australian Capital Territory None > Arts - Performing
None > Arts - Visual
Defence And Security > Defence Forces
Health And Medicine > Mental Health
To explore the use of creative arts to manage and promote recovery from Combat-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - UK, USA
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There are a large amount of social, environmental, policy, economic, workplace and funding determinants that I could have expanded on during my fellowship but were beyond the original scope of my topic. Most of these I will no doubt investigate and challenge in the coming weeks, months and years ahead.

It is heartening to see the generosity of the public across the UK and the USA in donating significant funds to enable the ongoing development and delivery of veteran’s recovery programs.

At the conclusion of this report I make a number of recommendations regarding possible actions that could be implemented to benefit many communities across Australia. In particular I believe the opportunity exists to develop international research networks incorporating many of the best organisations and researchers throughout Australia, United Kingdom and the United States of America to reduce duplication of effort, share resources and ideas and apply this research in many practical ways.

Both Art Therapists and Artists working in the domain of physical and psychological trauma that I came across do an extraordinary job. There is a distinct difference in the operating context of each and these should be considered and parameters acknowledged before any program or delivery occurs. The goal should always be “to do no harm”.

Technological advancements are somewhat of a ‘double-edged sword’. I provide a brief discussion as to the parallel rises in anxiety, depression, social isolation, suicidal ideation and substance abuse in western society at a time when technological advancements mean we are more connected to the world than ever before. One of the clear opportunities that I will be exploring as a means to overcome this conundrum within the Australian context will be to research links between creativity and technology in a multi-disciplinary manner to determine if any neurophysiological benefits can be derived, both in the immediate, short and longer term.

In essence, there is no single solution, be it clinical, pharmacological or creative, to the broader public issue of Post-Traumatic Stress. A holistic approach, respecting each input as equal, tailored to an individual’s needs would appear to be the most appropriate from my ‘non-clinical’ observations. I believe this fellowship has opened up a world of opportunities for applied research to be undertaken in a collaborative and coordinated way by qualified individuals across a broad, multi-disciplinary spectrum. If this can be funded, I believe the magnitude of health and economic benefits would far outweigh the investment.

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