The culture cure: how prescription art is lifting people out of depression

Kulturvitaminer, or Culture Vitamins, is a program in Denmark is helping unemployed people suffering from depression, anxiety, and stress using art, culture, and music.  Partly funded by the Danish health authority, and administered by the local job center, the program offers a crash course in culture, from attending museums to singing to seeing shows. 

In an article in The Guardian, Mikael Odder Nielsen, the Aalborg course leader, says: “We wanted to see if we could make people’s mental health better, reduce social isolation and help them get back into the labour market via culture.”

"Culture as a cure is not a new idea. In 2008, the then UK health secretary, Alan Johnson, called for the arts to be part of mainstream healthcare, and in 2009, the Royal College of Psychiatrists recommended participation in the arts and developing creativity for the protection of mental health,," the article states. "A decade on, evidence for the impact of the arts on wellbeing is growing. Research shows that “art on prescription” is valued by referrers and participants alike, and is also cost-effective, with a reduction in the number of visits to the doctor and participants gaining transferable skills."

Read the full article here.

Published: August 16, 2019