Mental healthcare worker, artist hopes doodles help kids find outlet amidst Covid-19
Three-headed space aliens, googly-eyed ice cream cones, and mischievous unicorns are just a taste of the memorizing and whimsical world created by Shane “Mack” McPherson, psychiatric technician at Northern Light Acadia Hospital. The longer you stare at his doodle drawings, the more there is to see.
Mack, who works in Pediatric Services at the Bangor-based psychiatric hospital, is offering his daydream-filled doodles to any kid (or kid-at-heart) looking to get lost in the moment.
“Drawing and doodling has helped me since I was very young,” explains Mack, thinking back to the hyper impulses he dealt with as a child. A series of his doodle pages are available on Acadia Hospital’s website, ready to be colored or completed as some are intentionally left unfinished awaiting a new imagination to complete their visual story.
Mack says that doodling has been shown to anchor the brain, “I am colorblind and find no joy in coloring, but I have seen the positive effect that coloring my doodles has on people.” He reinforces with his young patients how positive anchors like music, painting, drawing, dancing, or gardening can always be there for you while you’re working through your struggles. “The Covid-19 crisis is like a series of waves crashing into us all. Kids and adults alike have all been through spurts of crisis and calm. The kids at our hospital are doing a phenomenal job with all things considered—we should be taking some lessons from our patients who have lived crisis and come out stronger.”
At the age of 42, Mack is still amazed each morning that he’s landed in a career where he gets to be a kid again. He says with a smile, “And the very best part of my job is I get to work with the most amazing children. They are so strong, resilient and brave—they are my heroes.”
Find Mack’s doodles at www.northernlighthealth.org/download-doodles. Once you’re done, share your doodle on the Mack-a-Doodle message board.