Arts, creativity and mental health initiative: participatory arts self evaluation approach project report (2007)

Document type
Goldie, Isabella
Mental Health Foundation
Date of publication
1 December 2007
Mental health services
Social welfare
Material type

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The participatory arts self evaluation approach project evolved out of a dialogue with arts projects and mental health service users throughout Scotland, many of whom had expressed a real concern about the lack of priority given to creative approaches within mental health settings. These views showed that the arts were highly valued by those who had experienced mental health problems and seen as a meaningful vehicle by which to approach their recovery. What was also apparent was the paucity of evidence on which arguments for greater development of these services could be based. Many projects were operating on short term funding arrangements and often, with a few notable exceptions, funded only for direct activity with participants. This created a void in relation to time provided for practitioners to reflect, share and develop practice together, with few possibilities for training and formal support structures to develop. It was found that unlike other professions working within the field of mental health, arts projects were not funded or expected to require the time and space to come together and develop.

The innovative and inclusive approach adopted within this project, aimed to support the development of wider discussions on the benefits of creativity and the right of access to arts based mental health services, for those who have experienced mental health problems.