The research has found that participants felt happier, empowered and more confident after engaging in arts initiatives. The study involved over 100 participants and was lead by Clive Parkinson, from Manchester Metropolitan University’s Faculty of Art and Design.

“We found projects that stimulate peoples’ minds and encourage them to be creative can have a profound impact on their health and well-being,” he said. “The arts can help create a positive environment and build positive relationships which can make people feel more resilient, in control and give them a sense of purpose which leads to greater energy and enthusiasm for life.”

The project involved investigating arts initiatives that take place in a variety of settings including hospitals as well as the wider community and monitoring the effect they have on the participants. The researchers suggest that people who are ill, depressed or isolated often have a diminished capacity to deal with challenges and a de-motivation for healthy behaviour so by re-inspiring them and helping them feel in control of their lives through arts initiatives, their capacity for coping and well-being is increased. The research also discovered that these arts initiatives also have a positive impact on healthcare staff as well as the patients: job satisfaction was significantly increased among workers involved with creative activities compared to a control group.

The aim of the study was to explore the belief that arts and creative initiatives can improve public health and wellbeing. “Using the arts to promote health has been viewed as a potential for a while now but with a lack of evidence it was hard to get it onto the agenda,” Parkinson said. “Hopefully, this new evidence will bring to light the huge difference this can make to peoples’ lives and it can start to be incorporated into Government policy.”

MEDICA.de; Source: Manchester Metropolitan University