For more than 30 years, Arts for Health at Manchester Metropolitan University has been leading the way in demonstrating how participating in the arts can improve health and wellbeing. Led by Dr Clive Parkinson, the project has demonstrated how creativity, culture and the arts can reduce depression, anxiety and stress and can even help with managing dementia, addiction, loneliness and social isolation.
Partnerships, including those with local charities, have shown that enabling recovery from illness though engagement in the arts and culture can promote longer, more enriched lives.
One participant said: “It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. The arts give you that mindfulness, where you’re engaged in your work and nothing really matters…It’s like a sanctuary against the ravages of depression and anxiety.”
At the recent World Health Healthcare Congress held in Manchester, Dr Parkinson launched the Manchester Declaration, a vision statement for how Greater Manchester becomes a “city region where arts and culture are seen as central to the wellbeing of its diverse residents and workforce, a global leader exemplifying the very best in arts, health and social change.”