The arts are a shadow health service – here’s why
November 14, 2018
The UK’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has said that doctors should prescribe dance classes and trips to concert halls as well as pills and physio – and set out plans to make this “social prescribing” a reality. He clearly gets how the arts can benefit health and well-being. But there is more to do. The health benefits to be gained from creative practice are enormous and universal – and so need widespread investment.
People tend to think of personal health in a limited way. Medical services of one kind or another are largely given the onus of keeping people well and fixing them when they become poorly. We are encouraged to stop smoking, drink less alcohol, lose weight and exercise. More recently, the idea of well-being has helped to shift that somewhat. Yoga and mindfulness, to take two examples, are now heavily associated with the idea of health.
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