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Promoting mental wellbeing and social inclusion through art: evaluation of participatory arts courses for people with mental health needs Jenny Secker,

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Presentation on theme: "Promoting mental wellbeing and social inclusion through art: evaluation of participatory arts courses for people with mental health needs Jenny Secker,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Promoting mental wellbeing and social inclusion through art: evaluation of participatory arts courses for people with mental health needs Jenny Secker, Professor of Mental Health, Anglia Ruskin University / South Essex Partnership Trust Lyn Kent, Service User Researcher, Anglia Ruskin University Kerrie Margrove, Research Fellow, Anglia Ruskin University Kirsten Heydinrych, Open Arts Manager, South Essex Partnership Trust

2 Overview 1.Open Arts’ origins 2.Project aims and objectives 3.Evaluation methods 4.Formative evaluation results 5.Outcome evaluation results 6.Conclusions and further research

3 Open Arts’ origins England-wide study commissioned by Department for Culture, Media & Sport and Department of Health with aim of developing the evidence base (Secker et al. 2007) Outcome measures of mental health, empowerment and social inclusion completed by 62 participants at 22 projects on joining and 6 months later Results showed significant improvements on all three measures Launch at Tate Modern in 2007 attended by senior South Essex Partnership Trust managers. Open Arts established six months later

4 Project aims and objectives Open Arts aims to promote recovery, wellbeing and social inclusion amongst people experiencing or at risk of mental health problems through: 12-week introductory courses covering a range of arts media Gallery visits Open College Network accreditation (since 2010) Follow on opportunities Signposting to community arts opportunities Community development

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6 Evaluation methods

7 Formative evaluation results (1) At all 4 groups participants described improvements in wellbeing and feeling less socially isolated: People have really come out of themselves / I have gained confidence – without the course - I don’t have anything else – most of my time is spent alone. Coming here was a big step for me / To come here and meet new people was a really big thing for me / The most important thing I have gained are friendships / We have made plans to see each other / It was my social highlight / It was a fun day.

8 Formative evaluation results (2) But expectations and experiences at the first 3 courses had differed widely in line with participants very different needs, experiences and abilities: I thought I was going to a ‘loose’ art project, but it was structured and had a plan. It was more restricted, and although you could do your own thing, it was structured and therefore misleading / Ditto to the above / You have no idea beforehand of what you can achieve / You had to work things out for yourself / Would like to have had more demonstrations / I didn’t know what I wanted to do a couple of times, There were also a couple of books on the table to give inspiration or you could do your own thing.

9 Formative evaluation results (3) In response to feedback from the first 3 groups: Expectations clarified from the outset through clearer information in pre-course packs & discussion at the start and midpoint of each course A more individualised approach focused on individual learning plans At 4 th focus group to assess impact of changes all participants were happy with their course and made no major suggestions for improvement.

10 Outcome evaluation results ( ) Analysis of pre- & post-course measures from 116 participants: Significant improvements in both wellbeing and social inclusion Significant correlations between improvements in scores and self-ratings of impact on wellbeing and social inclusion Majority of ratings (>80%) positive for impact on confidence, skills and motivation

11 Waiting list controlled outcome evaluation results Analysis of pre- & post-course measures from 58 participants (26 on a course; 32 on waiting list): No differences in scores between groups to begin with Significant improvements on both measures for course participants; no change for those on the waiting list Scores later improved significantly for 19 waiting list participants who subsequently completed a course. Majority of ratings (>80%) again positive for impact on confidence, skills and motivation

12 Conclusions and further research Very promising indications that arts participation can improve mental wellbeing and social inclusion Results justify funding for further research incorporating: Randomisation to course or waiting list Service use data to examine cost effectiveness Longer term follow-up beyond the end of the courses But funding is problematic for arts and health research in England!

13 “Coming to the Open Arts course has benefitted me more than any other type of therapy I ever had”

14 For further information:

15 Thank you for listening Any questions?


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