Art therapy to aid Riverland region residents

Karl Raams Self-Employment AssistancePersonal experience with mental health issues has led Karl Raams (they/them) to launch a business focusing on supporting people through art therapy.

Karl battled with depression and anxiety through their high school years and while they were receiving help via counselling and other mental health professionals, they did not connect with traditional therapy. 

Karl soon discovered art therapy through university, “I found art therapy very collaborative, therapeutic and helpful – you’re not just creating art but it gives you a safer way to process mental health because not everyone wants to talk about what’s going on, they would rather show it.” 

After completing a Master of Art Therapy with Distinction and a Bachelor of Arts, Karl was inspired to help others by starting their own business, Phoenix Arts & Mind, “I had always had a passion for people, and on placement I found myself enjoying connecting with the students. I saw counselling as a way to connect with people, to be part of their journey of well-being, and to help them truly understand and see themselves.” 

They used IntoJobs Self Employment Assistance program in Berri, in the Riverland region, to help launch their business, “The IntoJobs team were able to help me out with a financial plan for the business which really helped me understand what value I needed to put on my services. While I have my Masters in Art Therapy and Bachelor in Counselling, I’ve got no business background so going through the program made me comfortable enough to start my own business.” 

The Self Employment Assistance program, delivered by IntoJobs supported by Mas National (both part of the IntoWork Group) offers practical, and confidential guidance and support on all aspects of starting and running a small business – from coaching, registering business names, website domains, business plan development, health checks, setting up an ABN through to financial, marketing, and strategic advice. 

Services are designed to offer maximum flexibility and are tailored to individual business needs, with training delivered by highly qualified and experienced business coaches across various industry and service-based professions. 

With an estimate of 1 in 5 Australians experiencing mental illness each year, Karl said their business will address a need in the community, with a particular focus on older people and adults, “The biggest demographic for art therapy is normally women in their 30s to 50s but I’m also experienced with the aged care sector. Art therapy can be very helpful for people with dementia. Their stories are often confused with them jumping through different time periods, but art therapy gives them a way of keeping it all connected.” 

“Even during the pandemic, people started realising art was therapeutic. Art therapy doesn’t work for everyone but I think it can help a lot more people than just traditional talk therapy. Sometimes, there is such a variety in art therapy that it can be more effective. In a way, it’s less reliant on the therapist having all medical answers and is more about the therapist providing a safe environment for the client to explore, share and grow.” 

IntoJobs Business Navigator Stephen Chapple said it was very inspiring to see Karl expand their business into different areas, “Karl is very passionate about helping people through their mental health journey. They have shown great progress in their business as a young entrepreneur, and I cannot wait to see their business expand even more.” 

Karl said they were excited to expand art therapy to regional areas in the next six months, “I look forward to creating an opportunity for others to express, work on, and explore their own well-being, self-care, and mental health, in a way that isn’t readily available in many regional areas. I am pleased to be adding to the growing mental health services in the Riverland.”

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