British Doctors to Prescribe Arts and Culture to Patients

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From Open Culture: “If we consider such things as art, music, and dance as essential—not only to an education, but to our general well-being—we must commend the UK’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, for his ‘social prescribing’ initiative.

Hancock wants ‘the country’s doctors to prescribe therapeutic art- or hobby-based treatments for ailments ranging from dementia to psychosis, lung conditions and mental health issues,’ reports Meilan Solly at Smithsonian. The plan ‘could find patients enrolled in dance classes and singing lessons, or perhaps enjoying a personalized music playlist.’ […]

‘The medical benefits of engaging with the arts are well-recorded,’ Solly writes, citing studies of stroke survivors making great strides after performing with the Royal Philharmonic; dance lessons improving clarity and concentration among those with early psychosis; and those with lung conditions improving with singing lessons. Additionally, many studies have shown the emotional lift museum visits and other cultural activities of a social nature can give. […]

A shift away from ‘over-medicalising’ and toward preventative and holistic approaches has the potential to address not only chronic symptoms of disease, but the non-medical causes—including stress, isolation, and sadness—that contribute to and worsen illness. […]

[…] given all we know about the importance of emotional well-being to physical health, it’s hard to argue with Hancock’s premise. ‘Access to the arts improves people’s mental and physical health,’ he tweeted during his November 6th roll-out of the initiative. ‘It makes us happier and healthier.’ Art is not a luxury, but a necessary ingredient in human flourishing, and yet ‘the arts do not tend to be thought of in medical terms,’ writes professor of health humanities Paul Crawford, though they constitute a ‘shadow health service,’ bringing us a kind of happiness, I’d argue with Confucius, that we simply cannot find anywhere else.”

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1 COMMENT

  1. Dancing, gardening, biking, cooking family meals, co-chairing a 250+ volunteer strong arts program for children, functioning as the Charter Rep for the boy scouts and as a leader for the girl scouts, being a village planning commissioner, plus numerous other volunteering, painting, and rehabbing my home is largely how I got through my psychotomimetic, anticholinergic toxidrome induced “psychosis” and drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity “psychoses.” I considered this lifestyle to be a typical historic, active volunteer, mom lifestyle – where I was working on the long-run profit potential of my art portfolio. As opposed to short run profits only.

    I lived this lifestyle, all while idiot psychiatrists were claiming in their medical records that I was “w/o work, content, and talent” and “unemployed,” prior to looking at my work, without actually knowing anything about me, and disbelieving my activities. I do agree, incorporating the arts into one’s lifestyle does help one deal with the greatest of inanity, ungodly disrespect, and psychiatric insanity – disrespect particularly for the historic role of the female in our society, as well as the artists.

    Seventeen years later I have a truth telling art portfolio, that those who thought they were silencing me, are afraid of, because it is “insightful” and “work of smart female.” I do agree, rather than poisoning and stealing from all the young creators, our society should move to one of mutual respect and cooperation for all the professions. A society without creators (of things other than “mental illnesses”) is a dead society.

    Let’s hope the American “professionals” some day wake up, end their staggering greed inspired attempted murders and thievery from the young creators, and return America to a country where all professions understand that “all people are created as equal.” We do have an extreme medical god complex problem in the USA today.

    As Chris Hodges said, “We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.”

    Upside down and backwards, American “professionals.” I painted the American flag as upside and backwards in 2005, now that imagery is all the rage online. The creators utilize both sides of our brains, so we are the canaries in the coal mine, that it might be wise to listen to, rather than silence, American “professionals.”