SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A local organization has been helping Siouxlanders with mental health and addiction issues for many years, and they have found a small way to help their clients. Jackson Recovery Centers are using art to help heal. 

Therapists there say art is one of the tools many of their patients take home to continue to heal.

“She started with something and was coloring it. She got real emotional and I said to her where is this coming from and she said ‘Mona, I have kids. I could be coloring with my kids instead of drinking and using.’ Today, you can do that when you leave. You will be able to do that, you know? I said now you know something different,” said Ramona Wanned, a substance abuse therapist at Jackson Recovery.  

About a year ago, Leadership Siouxland put in this art wall at Jackson Recovery Centers. It’s already become a big tool for helping people through addiction. 

“It’s kind of rewarding because it’s something that continues to pay off,” said Tom Gill who was apart of the 2017 Leadership Siouxland. “I think several people: women, men, children have been able to draw on that wall and feel good about themselves when they leave the Jackson Recovery Centers.”

The mural in the middle changes with different therapy throughout the year, but the motivational sayings along the border are a permanent contribution from patients. Kids at the recovery center also came up with the name, the “Great Wall of Recovery.”

“It’s another way for them to be creative and to come down here and just release some of the stress and anxiety and different emotions that they’re going through. As they go through treatment and really make this a tool that they can put into their toolbox for recovery,” said Kim Wilson, the director of marketing for Jackson Recovery Centers.

Local artist Harry Gray drew outlines in sharpie for patients to use the wall like a giant coloring book.

“There was an older gal, and she was sitting on the floor and she said ‘I can’t believe how good I feel about myself.’ And I said, ‘Who would have thought that chalk and a chalkboard could do this”, said Wanned. 

Jackson Recovery Centers said each group of patients do the wall together and often right after they will go into therapy to discuss how expressing themselves positively made them feel.