Art therapy, mindfulness and philosophy during COVID-19 - Pediatric Research Foundation
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Evaluation and comparison of art therapy and mindfulness-based interventions and philosophy and mindfulness, and their impacts on the mental health of primary school-aged children during the COVID-19 pandemic

In a non-COVID context, 25% of children in primary school suffer from mental health issues. Recent reports illustrate, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in the signs of anxiety and depression among youth. These particular issues have major repercussions, including a rise in behavioural issues, a drop in academic motivation and an increase in the number of youth dropping out of school. Study findings are thus far promising as potentially useful for countering the psychological distress and improving the well-being of children by focusing on mindfulness and philosophy activities designed for children. This project is essentially seeking to discover possible measures that could help countless children cope with the impacts of the pandemic. The combination of two complementary initiatives, one focused on mindfulness and art therapy and the other on philosophy and art therapy, both targeting children, is distinct and highlights the study’s multidisciplinary approach. The wide range of experts involved (from the fields of psychology, philosophy, education and the arts) supports the creation of activities for alleviating the pain experienced by primary school-aged children as they enter the second year of life turned upside down by the pandemic.


These projects could confirm the validity of the activities used to promote better mental health among Quebec youth. In the current COVID context, this program could help reduce the potential risk of short-, medium- and long-term impacts on the mental health of primary students and, consequently, promote academic perseverance and success. An article was published in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, and a second article is under review for publication in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.

Leverage effect

This financing would pave the way for a federal or provincial subsidy for studying the impact of these activities on children following the pandemic and in a regular school environment. Furthermore, the funds would allow for conducting studies over the next few months and even the next year, as children continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., virtual learning, isolation, screening, lockdowns, limited social activities).


Principal researcher

  • Professor Catherine Malboeuf-Hurtubise (Psychologist, Department of Psychology at Bishop’s University and CHUS Research Centre)


  • CHU Sainte-Justine: Nicholas Chadi
  • Université de Montréal: Geneviève Mageau, Mireille Joussemet and Marc-André Éthier
  • Université de Sherbrooke and CHUS Research Centre: Chantal Camden
  • Université de Sherbrooke: Mathieu Gagnon
  • Université du Québec à Montréal: Catherine Herba and Geneviève Taylor
  • Université du Québec en Outaouais: David Lefrançois

Research Center

  • CHU Sherbrooke Research Centre

Funded year


Project category

  • Neurodevelopment and mental health