The art of being mentally healthy
The first speaker for WA Showcase will be Dr Christina Davies, UWA Research Fellow and lead on an award-winning study which was the first internationally to quantify the relationship between mental wellbeing and arts engagement.
The study found that those who engaged in two or more hours per week of arts reported significantly better mental wellbeing than those who took part in no arts or lower levels of engagement.
Dr Davies said the study contained important findings for artists, health professionals, clinicians, researchers, policy makers and the general population.
“First, two or more hours per week of arts engagement may have the potential to enhance mental wellbeing in the general population. Second, when engaging in creative activities and events, the amount of time engaged in the arts, or ‘the art dose’, may be important in obtaining mental health benefits. Third… there is potential for new and innovative ‘time based’ arts-mental health campaigns, such as those used to promote the health benefits of physical activity.” *
CircuitWest Executive Director Ryan Taaffe said research leaders like Dr Davies could very well change how the arts are seen and valued in society.
“We have struggled as an industry to explain social impact for many years, and this has directly impacted national funding, ” Taaffe said.
“Dr Davies’ work is ground-breaking for the arts as it brings into perspective the importance of arts to health in the same way sports are important to health. “
“We have long talked about the need to ensure that we can show the true value of arts so that it has the importance of other parts of the economy.”
“Dr Davies has shown us an essential path we need to take, the path towards our role in health.”
Dr Christina Davies is a Research Fellow in the School of Allied Health at The University of Western Australia. She is also a founding member of the WA Arts and Health Consortium. Her multi-award winning research focuses on the areas of arts-health, health promotion and mental wellbeing. For the past 20 years, Christina has worked in both academic and market research settings. She has successfully translated her arts-health research into policy and practice.
(access full study below)
* Davies, C., Knuiman, M. & Rosenberg, M. The art of being mentally healthy: a study to quantify the relationship between recreational arts engagement and mental well-being in the general population. BMC Public Health 16, 15 (2015).
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