There is a growing belief and an increasing body of evidence that the arts have an important role to play in the health and well-being agenda.
Central government, health care and support organisations across the country are now recognising the power of the arts.
The observed effects can range from lowering stress levels, to faster recovery times, reduced need for pain medication and increased social interactions helping to mitigate isolation and the mental and physical ill health that can result.
The process of creative activity relaxes and rejuvenates those struggling with life’s challenges and illnesses, providing a safe environment to articulate emotions with others, or simply to concentrate on something outside of themselves for a while. Participation in the arts can help build confidence and develop a sense of achievement. This can enable people to feel better equipped to solve problems and cope with conditions such as depression.
In essence, it is a way for individuals to feel more at ease with themselves and with others.
Learning new skills gives people a chance to have a sense of achievement, thereby raising their self-esteem and giving them the confidence to move forward. It provides a welcome focus outside of themselves.
Arts are accessible to all.There are no wrong answers and people can participate in a meaningful and enjoyable way. Adaptations can always be made to ensure those with disabilities are really a part of the activities, thereby building confidence and friendships.
Art gives people an opportunity to recall and record their memories and share them with others – even if they can’t find the spoken words.
The arts can help take people on an imaginative journey away from the tensions of reality and therefore open up relaxed and positive dialogue.
The arts can help combat isolation as collaborative projects give people a reason to come together in a shared creative endeavour to make something that lasts – sometimes forever.