In U.K., health secretary supports “prescribing” arts to build wellness

Posted on: July 24, 2018

“Matt Hancock, the former culture secretary recently promoted to lead the Department of Health, has endorsed the idea of using arts interventions when treating mental health patients instead of prescribing medication,” writes Georgia Snow in Monday’s (7/23) The Stage (U.K.). “Hancock was culture secretary from January 2018 until earlier this month, and before that held a ministerial position within the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport…. He has promised to set aside funding to help areas set up social prescribing schemes, which enable GPs to recommend methods such as arts engagement, volunteering, sports and gardening when treating patients with mental health problems. Social prescribing is intended to reduce the strain on primary care by encouraging the use of alternative, holistic treatments, particularly in mental health cases and when social or emotional factors are affecting a person’s health…. Hancock said: ‘Evidence has shown the potential benefits of approaches like social prescribing, which addresses people’s physical and mental well-being and has been shown to both improve patients’ quality of life’ … A survey of 1,200 GPs … found two thirds agreed that public engagement with the arts can make a significant contribution towards preventing ill health among the public.”

Posted July 24, 2018