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Why arts activity?

Taking part in arts activity improves your health and wellbeing! That's not just the people you're caring for, but also you, the carer.
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‘People all over the country are using the arts to make a real difference to health and healthcare. […] Arts and health is not a new, untested or fringe activity. It has long been delivering robust improvements to our health services.’
A Prospectus for Arts and Health,
Department of Health with Arts Council England, 2007

To download a detailed report from 2011 by the Mental Health Foundation which gives evidence ‘that engaging with participatory art can improve the wellbeing of older people and mediate against the negative effects of becoming older’, see below.

Why art?

The arts can help with:Dancing

  • Building confidence, a sense of achievement, and empowerment - moving beyond a service user identity.
  • Improving mental and physical energy, encouraging movement.
  • Promoting social interaction and companionship; encouraging involvement and collaboration; reducing social exclusion.
  • Improving communication and the ability to express one's feelings - verbally and non-verbally; stimulating empathy and trust through sharing in a safe environment.
  • Reducing stress, anxiety and depression; encouraging relaxation and a sense of calm, wellbeing and happiness.
  • Mental, sensory and emotional interest and stimulus, keeping the brain active and alert, increasing problem solving, concentration and fine motor skills.
  • Widening aspirations and opportunities, allowing people to be more receptive to change.
  • Providing coping mechanisms and distraction from troubles and pain.

... for staff and carers, as well as service users.

Arts and Mental Health picture 1And in health-care settings, arts can be used:

  • to support staff and for workforce development, using creative approaches.
  • to identify service user needs and engage them with developments that affect them in interesting ways.
  • to promote positive messages about healthcare work and organisations.
  • to create better health-care environments.
  • to reduce dependency on medication.

What's on offer?

Arts and Mental Health picture 2What is art?

Art as an umbrella term can include activities such as:

Crafts, woolcrafts, felting, textiles, rug-making, pictures, embroidery, painting, drawing, glass painting, face painting, mosaic, sculpture, pottery, willow weaving, junk sculpture, digital art...

Singing, percussion, music, DJing, digital music, circus skills, photography, theatre, poetry, film-making, film watching, creative writing, reflective reading, storytelling, dance, chair-based dance, tea dance, streetdance, ballroom, folk, salsa...


Related documents

The following document is in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)

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