Skip navigation

Gloucestershire Business News

Art as a prescription

The University of Gloucestershire has been working with specialist creative health charity, Artlift, to develop the largest dataset of arts on prescription participants in the world.

Newly published research shows that creative arts courses can have real and tangible benefits to general wellbeing, as well as help those diagnosed with depression and anxiety to develop coping mechanisms and improve their health.

Arts on prescription (also called exercise on prescription) courses are weekly sessions of recreational activity prescribed to patients from primary or secondary care.

Researchers have been evaluating Artlift's programmes including mosaic making, poetry and playwriting, watercolour painting and photography, for nearly a decade. Courses now also span more contemporary art forms such as hip-hop dance and graffiti.

The evidence gathered shows that these arts courses not only lead to improvements in general wellbeing, but can have a real effect on diagnosed issues such as depression and anxiety.

Social prescribing has been growing over the last decade and has recently been formalised as part of the NHS long term plan. The research provides evidence of the benefits of this sort of social prescribing. For example, the work suggests that there are no particular individual groups which benefit more or less from such treatment - everyone could benefit from taking part in these activities.

Gloucestershire has been recognised by the Royal College of General Practitioners as being a centre of excellence for social prescribing, due in part to its long history of producing excellent evidence on these programmes, particularly in the area of arts for health.

The courses are not therapy. They are simply courses that allow people to learn and develop skills in creative arts, in physical activity or in conservation and outdoor activities. They are usually carried out in groups, and participants take part based on their interests rather than their specific healthcare needs.

Dr Rachel Sumner, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Gloucestershire, said: "I am absolutely sold on the benefit that these programmes provide to patients in our healthcare system, and they are very much the answer to the current questions posed in public health about social disconnection and our mental health crisis, which is now being recognised at the national and international level.

"Each of the programmes I've been lucky enough to work with has provided truly incredible stories from their participants, showing the profound meaning that these often life-changing interventions can produce."

Related Articles

Skills, Apprenticeships & Careers: The latest vacancies and opportunities across Gloucestershire Image

Skills, Apprenticeships & Careers: The latest vacancies and opportunities across Gloucestershire

There has never been a more challenging time to find a new job or get on the career ladder. Whether you are looking for a new role, an apprenticeship or a first job, Punchline is here to help.

Gloucestershire Skills Expo coming to Gloucester Image

Gloucestershire Skills Expo coming to Gloucester

Three local colleges are joining forces for Gloucestershire Skills Expo next month.

Apprenticeship open evening – opportunity for businesses Image

Apprenticeship open evening – opportunity for businesses

Gloucestershire College is hosting an event for school leavers, existing college students and anyone who is interested in an apprenticeship.

National Apprenticeship Week: Speakers will provide insight  Image

National Apprenticeship Week: Speakers will provide insight

The chief executive of Gloucestershire Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust is one of the keynote speakers at a free event hosted by University of Gloucestershire.

Copyright 2022 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.