Art and Mental Health Recovery: Evaluating the Impact of a Community-Based Participatory Arts Program Through Artist Voices

Abstract

This study sought to evaluate the impact of participation in a 6-month community-based participatory arts program on mental health recovery. Using a case study methodology, a total of nine recent graduates from one of five separate groups held during the study period (2012–2015) were interviewed. All but one of the nine participants reported positive personal, emotional, physical and/or mental health changes as a result of her or his participation in the program. Voices of all participants are explored. Analysis of the interviews revealed four key themes: safe space to create, change in identity, biggest impact, and program-related challenges. This study supports community-based arts programming as a positive experience for people living with mental illness. Employing staff and volunteers with lived experience of mental health problems enhanced the overall participant experience.

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Correspondence to Tracey A. Bone.

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Bone, T.A. Art and Mental Health Recovery: Evaluating the Impact of a Community-Based Participatory Arts Program Through Artist Voices. Community Ment Health J 54, 1180–1188 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-018-0332-y

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Keywords

  • Case study
  • Mental health
  • Community arts program
  • Identity