Promoting mental wellbeing and social inclusion through art

Six month follow-up results from Open Arts Essex

Jo Keay, Lyn Kent, Jenny Secker, and Ceri Wilson

Previous evaluations have demonstrated improvements in well-being and social inclusion for people with mental health difficulties after participating in Open Arts’ introductory participatory arts courses. This evaluation aimed to ascertain whether improvements are maintained long-term. Course participants completed measures of well-being and social inclusion at the beginning and end of their course and after three and six months. At initial follow-up participants rated their experience of their course, and at three and six months they reported activities taken up after attending. Scores significantly increased from baseline to first follow-up and remained significantly higher than at baseline at three and six months. End-of-course ratings were positive and most participants continued their art work. Other activities included education/training and voluntary/paid work. Further studies are needed to examine whether improvements can be attributed with confidence to arts participation, but these results add to a growing weight of evidence pointing to that conclusion.

Source: Abstract