Briefing paper

Is there compelling evidence for using the arts in health care?

Arts Health Arts-in-health Australia
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A national arts and health policy framework being developed in 2012 proposes whole of government engagement to strengthen arts and health initiatives for community wellbeing.

This framework should assist health providers at all levels to assess existing programs, consider new directions and identify community partners for using the arts to improve treatment and build health. Arts and health practices create arts and cultural experiences that aim to improve health and wellbeing. The number of networks, projects and organisations contributing these practices to many different healthcare and community settings is increasing.

The whole range of art forms, including craft, writing, music, theatre and drama, dance, visual arts, film and new media, and multimodal combinations of these, is being used.

This paper briefly outlines evidence of the effectiveness of arts and health strategies across the whole spectrum of population needs, from interventions targeting the complex needs of a few to those appropriate to all. The focus in this brief is upon arts - based practice in clinical contexts, but evidence concerning arts and health in the community is also included.

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