Background Image

Art, health and wellbeing

World Health Day, celebrated annually on 7 April, provides an opportunity to mobilise action around specific health topics on a global scale. The focus of the 2017 World Health Day is depression.

It is estimated that almost half of Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime and, around 1 million Australian adults will have depression in any one year 1

The arts can play an important role in supporting health and wellbeing in individuals and communities including raising awareness, intervention and providing opportunities to actively participate.

An Australian study found that people with 100 or more hours per year of arts engagement (i.e. at least 2hrs per week) had significantly better mental wellbeing than those with no or lower levels of engagement2 .

To highlight and celebrate the role arts can play in supporting mental health we have collated blog posts and case studies published on the Arts Queensland website.


Is mental wellbeing linked to arts engagement? (Published March 2016)
The Art of Being Mentally Healthy is the first international study to quantify the relationship between arts and mental health. In this post, Dr Christina Davies discussed findings from the award-winning study. 




Silver Memories (Published February 2016)
Supported by the Arts Business Innovation Fund, Queensland broadcaster 4MBS Classic FM is addressing social isolation and depression in aged care and embracing satellite technology through its Silver Memories project, which broadcasts music from the 1920s to the 1950s.



The healing power of arts and health (Published July 2016)
Lynne Seear, Manager of the Arts Program at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital wrote about her experiences of the healing value of arts in a hospital environment.




Laughter in the Outback (Published February 2017)
Barcoo shire found laughter is the best medicine when they hosted a comedy night and workshop for residents experiening the impact of sustained drought conditions.




Heart Art (Published June 2016)
It started as curiosity over a sign on a door and became a project to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in the McKinlay Shire. Helen Lynch reflected on the RADF-funded art therapy project at Julia Creek and the impact it had in the community.



Road to Recovery (15 December 2016)
The Road to Recovery project, facilitated by Red Clay Community Theatre provided an opportunity for participants with addictions to tell their stories through theatre, music and writing.




If you or someone you know needs help, call: 
•    Emergency on 000 (or 112 from a mobile phone)
•    Lifeline on 13 11 14
•    Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
•    MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
•    Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
•    beyondblue information line 1300 22 4636
•    SANE Helpline – 1800 18 SANE (1800 18 7263)


  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.
  2. Davies, C., Kniuman, M. and M. Rosenberg (2016) The art of being mentally healthy: a study to quantify the relationship between recreational arts engagement and mental well-being in the general population in BMC Public Health

Image: Unsplash/luis davila