The Importance of Arts & Crafts as Therapeutic Devices in Medical Rehabilitation

An injured veteran shares his experience

Aug 14, 2013, 13:41 ET from Help Hospitalized Veterans

WINCHESTER, Calif., Aug. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Don Andrews, a veteran of the United States Navy, is still receiving care from a head and neck injury sustained while serving his country.


In a letter to Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV), an organization which has provided millions of free arts and crafts kits to veteran patients since 1971, Andrews wrote, "I receive craft kits from this great organization, HHV, and the kits saved my life. They gave me something to do and kept my mind off the pain from surgery."

But his enthusiasm for the use of arts and crafts as therapeutic devices didn't stop there. "I owe my soul to the donors of HHV. These are the real heroes of our great America," he added.

In an interview, Andrews stated, "If you're not in therapy there's very little to do. Being able to work on craft kits fills a lot of the down time, taking your mind off your problems.  You forget about your pain, even if just for a little while.  And sometimes the pain can be unbearable.  But when I'm working on the kits, the pain goes away."

"HHV recognizes the tremendous benefit that arts and crafts kits bring to veterans suffering from illness, injury or disability," said Mike Lynch, HHV president and CEO, pointing out that there are millions of veterans currently receiving medical care. "We want to increase outreach to those veterans with two new initiatives."

One is the organization's new Patient Home Rehabilitation (PHR) program, which will allow more veteran and military patients to receive their arts & crafts kits by sending the kits directly to their homes.

HHV kits, many of which are produced at its manufacturing and distribution plant, help with pain diversion, substance abuse therapy, occupational and other forms of recovery and rehabilitation.  Some of the HHV-manufactured kits include leather items such as moccasins, wallets, link belts and wood kits like the extremely popular and intricate clocks, keepsake boxes and many, many more.

Andrews also referenced the many post-battlefield veterans who have withdrawn from society, often due to post-traumatic stress syndrome. "Socializing has become a problem for some," said Andrews. "But just being around other veterans while working on their kits helps many of them open up."

Therefore in conjunction with the PHR program is the establishment of the Community Based Crafts (CBC) program. "It is HHV's wish to provide a comfortable environment where veterans may seek to both improve their social skills while continuing their therapeutic rehabilitation," Lynch said.

Who's eligible? Any veteran receiving health care in this country. For more information contact HHV toll-free at 888-567-VETS (8387) or visit

Frank Cimorelli

SOURCE Help Hospitalized Veterans