There have been interesting research projects taking place across the Country, looking at the benefits of the Arts on mental and physical health. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Arts, Health and Wellbeing said ‘Arts-on-prescription activities help people to overcome physical and psychological pain, playing a vital role in the recovery and maintenance of health’.

Group creative activities in the community also help to overcome social isolation in people of all ages. The group recommended that NHS England and the Social Prescribing Network should support clinical commissioning groups, NHS Trusts and local authorities to incorporate arts-on-prescription in their plans. It is also recommended that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence should regularly examine the evidence and, where justified, include the use of the arts in its guidelines.

The report highlighted the Artlift programme, which sees health professionals refer patients with a range of conditions including depression, chronic pain, and strokes to take part in an eight-week course led by artists working in poetry, ceramics, drawing and mosaics.

A cost benefit analysis showed that after working with the artists, GP consultation rates dropped by 37% and hospital admissions by 27% – a saving of £216 per patient.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health said “we have long championed greater awareness of the significant health and wellbeing benefits of the creative arts, both in preventing ill health or poor wellbeing, and in aiding recovery. We are delighted that this comprehensive report illustrates and champions these benefits and we hope that it will transform the conversation in the health sector around arts and stimulate the widespread implementation of new and innovative approaches.”

Having personally experienced the benefits of Art on my own well-being I fully support this research.  Working with Clay in particular has a proven track record for being one of the most effective of all the art therapies. It’s as simple as you need it to be, you don’t need to be ‘artistic’ to make wonderful things, it can be ‘all absorbing’ and ‘relaxing’ and helps to take your mind off your worries. I am hoping that with such a resounding success for this research you will one day be able to  book a pottery class with me via your GP.