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Veterans program creates community through art, comedy

(NewsNation Now) — A veterans group is working to build a community using art and comedy to combat depression.

Using art to combat feelings of isolation is the mission of the Armed Services Art Partnership (ASAP) organization.

ASAP provides free classes, workshops and performances to veterans, service members, family members and caregivers. It’s a creative community offering stand-up and improv comedy, creative writing, painting, acting and storytelling classes.

“Whether it’s stand-up or a different art form that we teach, veterans get to experience that with people that have been through similar experiences,” Veteran Dewayne White said. “So that we feel, I think, more understood and more inside of a community from the very beginning.”

Research indicates art therapy can improve communication and concentration. It can also reduce feelings of isolation, symptoms many veterans experience.

“Our programs improve veteran’s wellbeing across a variety of measures in statistically significant and lasting ways,” ASAP Executive Director Brian Jenkins said. “Things like resilience, self-esteem, sense of belonging, sense of purpose.”

ASAP currently offers in-person classes in four U.S. cities. Combined with its online programs, it has reached more than 2,000 veterans across the U.S. since its founding in 2015.

“These outcomes directly address a lot of the challenges that veterans face in their post-military life,” Jenkins said. “Including things like social isolation and depression, stress, suicidal ideation, PTSD, traumatic brain injury.”

If you’re a veteran, service member, a family member or a caregiver of a service member or veteran and are interested in getting involved, you can learn more about ASAP on their website.

Watch the full segment in the video player at the top of the page.

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