Men­tal health ben­e­fits

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Perera

A UWA study has found reg­u­larly do­ing artis­tic ac­tiv­i­ties can sub­stan­tially ward off men­tal ill­ness and Pil­bara-based Ac­tBe­long-Com­mit staff agree.

“The Art of Be­ing Men­tally Healthy” study, pub­lished in BMC Pub­lic Health Jour­nal, found peo­ple in­volved in recre­ational arts for two or more hours a week had sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter men­tal well­be­ing than those who did not.

Re­searcher Christina Davies said ac­tively en­gag­ing in any type of the arts was key.

The study is the first to quan­tify the link be­tween good men­tal health and en­gage­ment with arts.

Act-Be­long-Com­mit Pil­bara Abo­rig­i­nal pro­ject man­ager Les­ley Mur­ray, who leads a num­ber of art projects in Roe­bourne, said through her ex­pe­ri­ences she had seen how en­gage­ment with the arts could have a pow­er­ful pos­i­tive ef­fect.

“Art does play a vi­tal role in im­prov­ing so­cial and emo­tional well­be­ing,” she said.

“It al­lows you to be cre­ative, ex­plore your iden­tity as an Abo­rig­i­nal per­son and cre­ate a sense of be­long­ing.

“It al­lows you to tell your story and the story of your fam­ily, and it helps you con­nect to your coun­try, cul­ture and lan­guage,” Ms Mur­ray said.

Act-Be­long-Com­mit Pil­bara health pro­mo­tion co-or­di­na­tor Gemma Brooks said get­ting in­volved in arts also pro­vided op­por­tu­ni­ties to so­cialise with like-minded peo­ple.

“I think that’s im­por­tant wher­ever you live, but I think in a place like the Pil­bara… it’s re­ally im­por­tant we en­gage in those men­tally healthy ac­tiv­i­ties,” she said.

Pic­ture: UWA

Study lead au­thor Christina Davies.

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