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Published: 12 May 2018

By Andy Ross

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Arts on prescription

Dr Daisy Fancourt in a video on the BBC news website is calling for the arts to be available on prescription. 

Those of us lucky enough to work in the arts know the benefits that artistic activity can bring to people who suffer from ill health, both physical and mental. The act of creating something, or performing, or even just watching someone creative leads to all sorts of positive benefits. Now, it seems, the National Health Service in England is preparing to include the arts in the treatment of certain conditions. 

Apparently the NHS spends a lot of money on conditions that rarely change because they are chronic, or affect the mind as much as the body, and the difficulty in treament comes from the fact that the person needs to be treated, not just the symptoms. The argument that Dr Fancourt puts forward is that positive benefits to mental health through the arts can change a person for the better.  In the case study from the video, painting is the catalyst for a significant change to Debs and Dr Fancourt uses Debs' story as an illustration of a positive outcome.  The arts, the good doctor argues, should be available as readily as medicines in this compelling short film which you can see here