Experiencing the arts can improve well-being, reduce the need for medication in dementia patients and lower the rate of GP consultations and hospital admissions, according to a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Well-being.
Between 2015 and 2017 the group conducted an inquiry into the way that the arts are used in health and social care.
It has now published a report providing “comprehensive evidence” demonstrating the beneficial impact of the arts on health and well-being.
The report shows that 82% of people enjoyed greater well-being after engaging with the arts, and 77% of people engaged in more physical activity.
A project called Arts on Prescription, in which people experiencing psychological or physical distress were referred to engage with arts in their community, resulted in a 37% drop in GP consultation rates and 27% reduction in hospital admissions.
The report also recommends that Arts Council England supports arts and cultural organisations in making health and well-being an integral part of their work.
It also calls for a “strategic centre”, supported by the Arts Council, that will bring together leaders from the arts industry and from the health and social care sectors, in order to “support the advance of good practice, promote collaboration, coordinate and disseminate research and inform policy and delivery”.
Alan Howard, co-chair of the APPGAHW, said: “We hope that our report will influence the thinking and practice of people working professionally in health and social care as well as of artists and people working in cultural organisations.”
Following the publication of the report, the parliamentary group will continue to campaign for the integration of arts into health and well-being programmes.