Military veterans face many challenges when returning to civilian life: reconnecting with family and re-establishing a role in the family; joining or creating a community; returning to a job or preparing to enter the workforce; and adjusting to a different pace of life and work. Some veterans return home with severe injuries, some visible, and some invisible.
Thousands of veterans have found that creative arts and nature activities provide relief from symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and traumatic brain injury. In healthcare and community settings, veterans have discovered vital outlets for expression and pathways to purpose and joy through activities such as writing, gardening, performing music, hiking, painting, and fishing.
Researchers and professionals who work with veterans have reported myriad benefits when spending time in nature and the creative arts:
Veterans, too, have identified additional benefits:
A growing body of research has demonstrated the therapeutic value of the arts and spending time in nature. Below are selected studies:
Creative ArtsComing home to the arts: theatre with military veterans and families
NatureSharing a New Foxhole with Friends: The Impact of Outdoor Recreation on Injured Military