A close up of someone painting on a canvas with a water jar of brushes

The “life-changing” Power of Arts, Creative Health and Social Prescribing Arts and Culture Social Prescribing

Expressing ourselves creatively and interacting with arts and culture can make all the difference when it comes to our health and wellbeing.  

Cultural organisations are rooted in creativity and freedom of expression – two important tools which helps us with all sorts of difficulties we might be experiencing. This might be stress, mental ill health, loneliness, physical health conditions or isolation.  

The arts provide a pathway for support to those who need it most. It’s about having the time and space to connect creatively with yourself and others, feeling inspired and equipped with the tools towards better resilience, confidence, wellbeing, and health.  

NASP is working to embed social prescribing across the arts, culture and creative health sectors. We want to broaden the range of activities available, including in areas of health inequality and making social prescribing and creative health more accessible.  

Activities such as singing, dancing, crafts or reading a good book boost our mood and creativity, and are essential wellbeing tools. We know that taking part in arts and culture activities can help a range of people, from those living with dementia, Parkinson’s Disease or suffering from depression or long-Covid, their families and carers
Dr Tola Dabiri, Arts and Culture Lead at NASP
We know that taking part in creative activities helps us live well and feel better, whatever your age. The Arts Council has a long history of supporting creative health, so we’re pleased to be working with NASP.
Hollie Smith-Charles Director, Creative Health & Change at Arts Council England

What Does Prescribing Arts and Culture Involve?

Does Arts and Culture Social Prescribing Really Work?

The UK is a leader in culture-based social prescribing. We’ve been referring people to local activities since the mid-90s. As such, there’s plenty of evidence that arts and heritage social prescribing works.  

Our evidence shows that taking part in heritage, art, music, creative and expressive activities through social prescribing can have huge benefits. 

  • It connects people and increases social interaction. 
  • It helps people build healthier habits and become more physically active. 
  • It improves emotional, cognitive, and sensory processing, and reduces stress. 
  • It supports potential in many different areas, including improvements in outcomes such as employment and skills, economic development, pride in the local area, and social cohesion.
  • It helps with physical and mental wellbeing and can help to prevent and treat the long-term conditions that are creating pressure on the healthcare system. 
Read the evidence

How Can I Get Involved in Arts and Culture Social Prescribing?

If you’re looking to get involved in social prescribing, as a participant, a voluntary, arts or heritage organisation, or healthcare provider, NASP is here to help.  

If you need support for yourself or a loved one…

The link worker at your local GP surgery will listen to your needs and connect you with suitable activities. 

If you’re looking for more online information, resources, and evidence…

The Power of Music

We are delighted to be part of the Power of Music consortium, a group of organisations that is implementing the recommendations of the 2022 Power of Music report.

Many studies have shown the benefits of music for our health and wellbeing, especially in supporting people living with conditions like dementia. Music projects can play a key role in social prescribing, with link workers connecting people to groups and activities in their area and beyond.


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