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January 2018

Visual Art and Mental Health

Visual Art and Mental Health
In partnership with


This is the first overall review of the evidence on the impact of visual arts on the wellbeing of adults with mental health conditions. Prior to this, there have been some insightful exploratory studies showing the positive impacts.

This briefing is based on a systematic review that looks at interventions that encouraged participation in, and enjoyment of, art among this group.

The review identifies the effects of visual art on subjective wellbeing. This describes both the good and bad feelings that arise from people’s outlook: how they think about themselves and others, and what they do in the interactions and practices of everyday life. The visual arts activities we looked at include painting or drawing, art appreciation, making art and exhibiting, ceramics, sculpture, and crafts activities.

We found that there is limited good quality evidence for visual arts impacts, though case studies from the UK have provided important and consistent findings.

The review includes data from 163 participants across four countries: Australia, Sweden, the UK, and the US. Overall, more women were included in the studies than men.

I benefit from socialising, learning new things and widening my creative experience.

Close Intro

What are the key findings?

Why should you care?

What can you do next?


You may also wish to read the blog article on this document.

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