The Value of the Creative Arts for People with mental illness or learning disabilities


The creative arts are recognised as having a beneficial effect on people with mental illness or learning disabilities. They aid self expression, communication, increase self esteem and confidence, as well as enhancing skills. However, research in this area is patchy and inconsistent which has contributed to lack of core funding for creative arts activities. The Inspire Project, a creativity and mental health project in a community health Trust, ran as a pilot project for eighteen months. Artists in residence successfully set up and ran a range of workshops in visual arts, photography and music engaging with over two hundred service users across a wide range of mental health and learning disability services. The level of user satisfaction with the project was high. There was also evidence that the workshop groups led to increased self-esteem and confidence amongst the participants. Exhibitions of the artwork that was produced were particularly highly valued and were critical in terms of linking with community arts facilities and bringing the art to a wider audience. This is an important medium for promoting positive messages about mental health.

How to Cite

Minogue, V., (2005) “The Value of the Creative Arts for People with mental illness or learning disabilities”, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Research and Practice 2(2). doi:







Virginia Minogue






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