October 1, 2020

Art therapy: How the arts can sharpen mental health research

Engagement with the arts takes on higher significance during unsettled times and can create positive change in health research.

2 min read

A UK study of adult mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic has found that more than a fifth of a 70,000-person sample engaged more with the arts during lockdown than before. Researchers have also found that Google searches for prayer reached their highest ever levels at this time, with many finding meaning through psychology and philosophy.

Statistics like these throw up interesting questions for cultural institutions (but also for places of worship) as they reopen. How can we channel private interests through creative public engagement? How can we renew or reinvent the social role of arts organizations as special places of gathering for people to develop and nurture themselves?

This is an excerpt from the article Art therapy: This is how the arts can sharpen mental health research by Ken Arnold and Danielle Olsen.

This article is a part of a special series on the connection between inner well-being and social change, in partnership with The Wellbeing ProjectStanford Social Innovation ReviewSchwab Foundation at the World Economic Forum, and Skoll Foundation.

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The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a nonprofit established in 1971 and based in Geneva, Switzerland. It engages political, business, cultural, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. The WEF hosts an annual meeting every year in Davos, Switzerland, and several regional meetings, that bring together business leaders, international political leaders, economists, celebrities, and journalists to discuss global issues. The organisation also provides a platform for leaders from across stakeholder groups to collaborate on projects and initiatives.