Mental Health, Social Inclusion and Arts: developing the evidence base.

Anglia Ruskin University, University of Central Lancashire

This report draws together the research carried out for the study Mental health, social inclusion and arts: developing the evidence base. The study was commissioned by the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Department of Health following publication of the report Mental Health and Social Exclusion by the Social Exclusion Unit. The aims of the study were to identify appropriate indicators and measures of mental health and social inclusion outcomes, and to develop and implement an evaluation framework based on those indicators and measures.

The study focused on participatory arts projects in England for people aged 16 to 65 with mental health needs and did not therefore include the specific discipline of art therapy. It comprised five strands of work:
1. A survey of arts and mental health projects in England to ascertain the scale and scope of participatory arts work and explore current approaches to evaluation.
2. A retrospective analysis of outcomes data shared with us by two projects.
3. Development of indicators and measures for use within an evaluation framework.
4. Implementation of the evaluation framework in an outcomes study measuring levels of mental health and social inclusion amongst arts project participants at the beginning of their involvement with their project (baseline) and six months later (follow-up).
5. Qualitative case studies with workers and participants at six projects aimed at exploring how and in what contexts arts participation benefits people with mental health needs. This final report provides a summary of four individual reports describing the survey, retrospective analysis, outcomes study and case studies in order to draw conclusions from across the study.

Jenny Secker, Sue Hacking, Helen Spandler, Lyn Kent, Jo Shenton
Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England