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An ambitious initiative Unveiled this week by UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock may soon allow doctors across the country to prescribe art-based or leisure-based therapeutic treatments for conditions ranging from dementia and psychosis to lung conditions and mental health issues. Write for the TimeKat Lay explains that this unconventional strategy, dubbed by the UK government a “social prescription,” could find patients enrolled in dance and singing lessons, or perhaps enjoy a personalized music playlist.
“We have fostered a culture that is busting pills and Prozac, when what we should be doing is more prevention and sweating,” Hancock said in a speech Tuesday to the healthcare think tank of the United States. King’s Fund. “Social prescribing can help us fight against the over-medicalization of people. “
According to TelegraphLaura Donnelly, the proposal, which follows a larger preventive health program, calls for the creation of a National Academy of Social Prescribing that will ensure that GPs, or GPs, across the country are equipped to guide patients to a range of leisure, sports and artistic groups.
The medical advantages to engage in the arts are well documented: as Lay notes, a collaboration between the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and stroke survivors living in Hull, England, has encouraged patients to play instruments, conduct and happen ; 90 percent of these participants reported improvements in their physical and mental health. In Lambeth, dance lessons have been shown to improve concentration and communication skills in people with early signs of psychosis, and in Gloucestershire, hospitals have started referring people with lung disease to sessions of singing.
A similar campaign launched in Canada earlier this month, Brendan Kelly reports for the Montreal Gazette. As of November 1, all members of the Montreal medical association Francophone Doctors of Canada (MdFC) obtained the opportunity to issue 50 prescriptions allowing patients and a limited number of friends, families and caregivers to visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for free. Normally, admission costs up to 23 Canadian dollars (approximately 18 US dollars). As MdFC vice-president Hélène Boyer explains to Kelly, the initiative builds on research suggesting that museum visits increase serotonin levels to improve mood quickly.
Compared to the Canadian project, that of the United Kingdom is both more complete and less fabric. Rather than just prescribing a visit to the museum, the British countryside will encompass multiple horizons, from social activities such as cooking classes, playing bingo and gardening to more culturally oriented businesses including visits to libraries and concerts.
But a key issue the proposal does not fully address is a sustainable funding model to support local services, points out Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind. BBC News. Mark Rowland, CEO of the Mental Health Foundation, adds that accessibility is another barrier. “Our concern is that social prescription options, including music, the arts and volunteering, are not accessible to the poorest in our community,” he says. “If we are to make the biggest difference in prevention and recovery, government must show how it will reach those most at risk. “
Social prescribing is intended to complement rather than replace more traditional forms of treatment. As Sally Copley, policy director for the Alzheimer’s Society explains, music and the arts must work in conjunction with “access to the right supports and the right medications when needed, and most importantly, government ensuring adequate funding for children. care is taken care of ”.
Social prescribing is expected to be in use across the UK by 2023, according to the government’s recent snapshot of its “loneliness strategy. “(In January 2018, the UK appointed Tracey Crouch to be its first ‘loneliness minister’ to explore how to combat the ‘grim reality of modern life’ following a revealing report released by the Jo Commission Cox on loneliness the year before.)
According to Stage‘s Georgia Snow, pilot programs are already underway in the North West of England, where there is a social prescription scheme specifically for new mothers and babies, and in Wales, where the National Health Service has partnered with the nation’s arts council.
“We should value the arts because they are essential to our health and well-being,” Hancock said in his remarks earlier this week. “Access to the arts improves people’s mental and physical health. It makes us happier and healthier.