“The arts help meet challenges in health and social care associated with ageing, loneliness, long-term conditions and mental health
Arts and Minds, a leading arts and mental health charity, has been running weekly art workshops for people experiencing depression, stress or anxiety in Cambridgeshire for the past seven years. Led by an artist and counsellor, its Arts on Prescription project offers a chance to work with a range of materials and techniques, including printmaking and sculpture. The impact has been outstanding.
An evaluation revealed a 71% decrease in feelings of anxiety and a 73% fall in depression; 76% of participants said their wellbeing increased and 69% felt more socially included. As one participant says: “I feel so much better having had the time and space to do some art. It makes such a difference.”
Gavin Clayton, executive director of the charity and one of the founders of the National Alliance for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, says: “Our evidence shows that taking part in creative activities has a positive impact on people’s mental health.
“The arts are important for wellbeing because beauty has a role in our lives. If we don’t listen to that, or pay attention, then that can cause problems.”
Cambridgeshire’s success has been mirrored across the UK and the findings are supported by the conclusions of a report by an all-party parliamentary group (APPG) – Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing.
The report, published in July, which followed a two–year inquiry, found that the arts can help keep us well, aid recovery and support longer lives, better lived. The arts also help meet challenges in health and social care associated with ageing, loneliness, long-term conditions and mental health. Crucially they can also help save the care sector money.”
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