Leckey, Jill (2011) The therapeutic effectiveness of creative activities on mental well-being: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 18 (6). pp. 501-509. ISSN 1351-0126

The aim of this paper was to investigate the literature to ascertain the effectiveness of
creative activities on mental well-being within the mental health context. Creative
activities have always been evident within the context of mental health and there is
increasing recognition that the arts have an important role to play in improving the
health and well-being of individuals. Medline, Cinahl and PsycINFO were searched
utilizing the keywords art, therap, well-being and mental health. The arts council data
base was accessed and the Department of Health review of Arts for Health Working
Group. Eleven studies were appraised by one reviewer utilizing the Critical Appraisal
Skills Programme tool. It was difficult to make comparisons of the papers accessed as
a result of the majority of studies being evaluative in nature and untaken within local
projects therefore lacking in generalization. The evidence suggests that creative activities
can have a healing and protective effect on mental well-being. Their therapeutic
effects promote relaxation, provide a means of self-expression, reduce blood pressure
while boosting the immune system and reducing stress. However, the evidence to
support these claims is weak and assumptions were made that lacked reliability and
validity. Establishing the benefit of participating in creative arts is difficult because of
a lack of consistency of a clear definition, but it is important to identify the potential
of creative arts as a therapeutic and transformational tools and not an intervention for
therapeutic diversion

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