Should the arts be considered an essential ingredient in general well-being? And should therapeutic art or hobby-based treatment be prescribed as part of a treatment plan?
The answer is yes, according to United Kingdom Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has promoted a “social prescribing” initiative to the country’s doctors for maladies such as dementia, psychosis and mental illness, as well as ailments such as lung conditions.
Regarding the arts, Hancock says,
“They’re not just a right in their own terms as the search for truth and expression of the human condition. We shouldn’t only value them for the role they play in bringing meaning and dignity to our lives. We should value the arts and social activities because they’re essential to our health and wellbeing. And that’s not me as a former Culture Secretary saying it. It’s scientifically proven. Access to the arts and social activities improves people’s mental and physical health.”