The Art of Caring: Connecting with Comics

Nicole Bielowicz with Comic Book Illustrations

Hillside Community-Based Treatment Provider Nicole Bielowicz struck upon a novel way to help one very creative youth see the COVID-19 pandemic through a different lens. After sharing his stress and anxiety about the crisis, Nicole asked her youth if he'd tried drawing his feelings out as they have routinely done. When he responded that he didn't know how to express his feelings about coronavirus, Nicole had her ah-ha moment!

As art activities have been one coping skill the youth regularly uses when he becomes upset, Nicole proposed creating a comic book together to help him through these challenging and uncertain times. He enthusiastically jumped at the idea which is now part of his weekly activities.

Moving from telehealth phone calls to video conferencing, has enabled Nicole and her youth to see their drawings and discussions really come to life. As they work through comic book ideas and plot lines, they sketch them out and discuss how his feelings will play into their characters. Without revealing any plot spoilers to this work in progress, Nicole and the youth are written into the story which casts Mr. COVID as its villain and Super Toilet Paper Man as its hero!

It has been said that art is not a thing; it is a way. The youth's family has expressed to Nicole how this unique comic book has become a powerful way to help him manage his anxiety, stress and aggressive behaviors. During the COVID-19 crisis and every day, dedicated and creative #HillsideStrong people like Nicole continue to make a big difference in the lives of youth and their families.