Evaluation of arts based courses within a UK recovery college for people with mental health challenges

Stevens, J., Butterfield, C., Whittington, A. and Holttum, S. (2018) Evaluation of arts based courses within a UK recovery college for people with mental health challenges. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15. ISSN 1660-4601.

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Abstract

No previous studies have evaluated arts based recovery college courses. Yet arts may assist in personal recovery, as often defined by service users, through social connection and personal meaning.

This interdisciplinary study evaluated (i) whether self-reported wellbeing and arts activities increased following arts based recovery college courses, and (ii) how students, peer trainers and artist-trainers understood courses’ impact. The design was mixed-methods. Of 42 service-user students enrolling, 39 completed a course and 37 consented to provide data. Of these, 14 completed pre and post course questionnaires on mental wellbeing and 28 on arts participation. Post course focus groups were held with 6 of 8 peer-trainers and 5 of 7 artist-trainers, and 28 students gave written feedback. Twenty-four students were interviewed up to three times in the subsequent nine months. There were statistically significant increases in self-reported mental wellbeing and range of arts activities following course attendance. At follow-up 17 of 24 students reported improved mental wellbeing, while 7 reported little or no change. Some spoke of increased social inclusion and continuing to use skills learned in the course to maintain wellbeing. Initial in course experience of ‘artistic growth’ predicted follow-up reports of improvement.

Future controlled studies should employ standardized measures of social inclusion and arts participation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Open Access Creative Commons - Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Arts; mental health; personal recovery; recovery college
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine > RA0790 Mental health services. Mental illness prevention
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Music and Performing Arts
Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health
Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education > Centre for Career and Personal Development
Faculty of Education > National Institute for Christian Education Research
Depositing User: Dr Sue Holttum
Date Deposited: 31 May 2018 09:06
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2018 08:00
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17345

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00