The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has warmly welcomed the publication of a new report, ‘Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing’, launched today (19 July 2017) by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing (APPGAHW), which illustrates and champions the hugely valuable role the arts can play in supporting health and wellbeing.

RSPH provided input and consultation in the delivery of the report, which comes after two years of evidence gathering from service users, health and social care professionals, artists and arts organisations, academics, policy makers and parliamentarians from all parties and both Houses. The evidence shows overwhelmingly the beneficial impact that arts can make to health and wellbeing:

  • The arts can help keep us well, aid our recovery and support longer lives better lived.
  • The arts can help meet major challenges facing health and social care: ageing, long-term conditions, loneliness and mental health.
  • The arts can help save money in the health service and in social care.

The report also explores a number of projects across the UK, such as Artlift, a charity delivering an arts-on-prescription scheme;The Alchemy Project, which uses dance as a form of early intervention in psychosis; and The Homeless Library, a collaborative project between arts organisation Arthur + Martha and Manchester’s homeless population, offering a space for potential healing and shared experience.

To more fully exploit the role the arts can play for health and wellbeing, the report makes 10 recommendations, including:

  • Leaders in the arts, health and social care sectors to establish a national strategic centre for arts, health and wellbeing.
  • A cross-governmental strategy to support the delivery of health and wellbeing through the arts and culture.
  • Designated individuals to be responsible for arts, health and wellbeing within NHS England, Public Health England and each clinical commissioning group, NHS trust, local authority and health and wellbeing board.

Read the full report, Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing, here.

Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive, RSPH, said:At RSPH 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. We fully support the APPGAHW’s calls to action to help support the integration of the arts into health and social care, and we truly believe that this can make a real impact on the public’s health and wellbeing.”