A report published by the Art Fund found that 42% of North East adults feel anxious at least some of the time – the largest proportion in the country after London at 45%.
The report stated that “more than ever, people need places where they can relax, learn, contemplate and wander”. As a way to counteract these feelings of anxiety, those who had daily leisure activities reported greater life satisfaction and happiness.
Those who visited museums and galleries reported up to 20% higher satisfaction-with-life scores than those who never visit them.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, highlighted recently that culture “can help keep us well, aid our recovery, and support longer lives better lived. It can help us meet major challenges facing health and social care – ageing, loneliness, mental health, and other long-term conditions”.
Doctors in Canada are already prescribing free museum visits and recent surveys from both the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Understanding Society indicate say that spending time in museums can provide a wealth of health benefits, including relaxation and recovery from work and a feeling of social connection and purpose.
They also believe it can help tackle psychosis in young adults, postnatal depression, recovery from neurological damage and falls prevention in older people.
Museums in Tyneside are embracing this research and Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums co-ordinated the first North East Creativity and Wellbeing Week in June of this year, including tours, health classes, music, art, poetry and more.
It also marked the launch of Slow Museums, providing opportunities for people to visit museums and galleries with the knowledge that staff have been trained to support visitors with visible, invisible, intellectual or cognitive disabilities.
Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums also deliver four programmes to help with deeper health and wellbeing in our region; supporting people with mental health issues, supporting people in recovery from addiction and justice recovery and a programme of activity with people aged over 55.
Fancy a museum prescription? Visit twmuseums.org.uk for more information