Mental health benefits
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.
Study lead author Christina Davies.