Research Shows Art Courses Can Improve Mental Wellbeing

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From PsyPost: A new study has found that a course of arts-on-prescription can provide a significant improvement in mental wellbeing, including in those with very complex care needs.

“Unlike art therapy, arts-on-prescription schemes provide art courses where patients can choose to learn how to draw, paint, create mosaics, or playwright. The courses are led by local artists, and are community-based rather than being based on specific medical needs. The groups that are referred are usually quite small, with between three and ten individuals, and may be based in local surgeries or community facilities. Those who take part are then provided with materials, and a dedicated space to carry out their activities. What makes these interventions unique is that they provide the participants with anonymity from what has brought them there, eliminating a shared ‘elephant in the room’ that is their diagnosis, or specific medical need.

Well received by patients, health professionals, and arts providers alike, the benefits of art for health schemes have long been recognised as valuable. Despite this, they have still been struggling to gain traction in mainstream primary care, even with recognition from a recent inquiry report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing. Until recently, the evidence base for these interventions has been from studies using small groups of patients, making it difficult to draw solid conclusions from something that will ultimately involve investment from the public purse.”

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