“The time has come to recognise the powerful contribution the arts can make to our health and wellbeing.”
So reads the opening lines of a recent report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing, which features the work of The Reader. Presenting two years of research, evidence-gathering and discussions with key individuals from across the spectrum of arts and health, the report includes personal testimonies and professional thinking from across a range of arts organisations.
Hoping to challenge habitual thinking about arts and health, and to encourage collaborations beyond conventional boundaries, the APPG for Arts Health and Wellbeing present evidence to support how arts-based approaches help people stay well, recover faster, manage long-term conditions and experience a better quality of life.
Reflecting on the health and social benefits of Shared Reading, the report states that “Participants recognise in great literature experiences in their own lives, and, in sharing and discussing these with fellow-participants, they gain insight and mutual support.”
“CRILS has established the value of shared reading for mental
health, particularly depression and dementia. Researchers have also explored the benefits of literature for mental agility and emotional
flexibility and found it to bridge the gap between a current unwell self and a past healthy self, enabling integration of fragmented parts of the self into a functioning whole.”