An Anti‑Depression Chamber

by Julie Adamson-Miller

At the height of December and end-of-term stress and exam anxiety in 2011, artist-in-residence, sculptor and community artist, Julie Adamson-Miller installed her Anti-Depression Chamber (Happiness Shelter) in the foyer of the Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building.

Any student passing through the lobby en route to classes, labs or the library had a chance to de-stress by entering this large, curved, tubular, tent-like chamber featuring white, luminescent nylon walls with bold, brightly painted floral patterns by Barry Roode of Mushaboom Design.

Julie explored the issues of anxiety and depression fro a positive, healing perspective, providing what was described as a "mood-altering space where one as an opportunity to engage the senses and experience physical pleasure" for pyschological relief and perspective taking.

Art as good as medicine

The art installation also acted as a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences on depression. Over 150 medical students responded to Julie's question: "What is your antidote to depression?" by posting ideas on sticky notes to the display stand beside the Anti-Depression Chamber.

Students' anti-depression strategies ranged from reading, dancing and listening to music to baking cookies, eating chocolates and drinking some wine.

Read a Chronicle Herald article (April 25, 2011) about Julie and her art installations for the Medical Humanities-HEALS program [PDF - 388 kB].