Creative arts have been a form of expression for centuries. The American Art Therapy Association notes that art, music and writing can improve cognitive function, increase self-esteem and enhance social skills.

During their deployment to Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, Airmen often use creative outlets as a tool for resiliency. Staff Sgt. Jayaira Ghrim-Harvey, AFMAO uniforms non-commissioned officer in charge, has expressed herself through poetry since long before her arrival to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware.

“I’ve been writing since I was 13. It’s been a great expressive way for me to get out some of the trauma and the things that I’ve been through,” said Ghrim-Harvey, who is deployed to AFMAO from the 910th Force Support Squadron, Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio.

Initially, her writing was not always structured, but rather just a way to cope with things in her young life, she said.