Call for arts on prescription

Think tank the CentreForum has issued a call for social prescribing (such as arts on prescription) to be made available in every GP practice in the country.

Chaired by former minister for mental health and Co-Chair of the new All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts Health and Wellbeing, Paul Burstow MP, the CentreForum Mental Health Commission has published a 12 month study on the state of wellbeing in England 'The pursuit of happiness' which identifies key priorities around wellbeing. The report calls on policymakers to establish the mental wellbeing of the nation or the “pursuit of happiness” as a clear and measurable goal of government and to prioritise wellbeing initiatives that tackle mental ill-health. It cites the positive impact of social prescribing on vulnerable and at risk groups (e.g. low-income single mothers, recently bereaved elderly people, people with chronic physical illness, and newly arrived communities); people with mild to moderate depression and anxiety; people with long-term and enduring mental health problems; and frequent attenders in primary care. The report also calls for parity of funding for mental health which currently receives 13% of NHS spend in England but accounts for 23% of demand. It is estimated that £13 billion is overspent every year on dealing with the physical health consequences of this unmet need.