This page sets out the growing body of evidence demonstrating that taking part in arts and crafts can improve health outcomes and increase wellbeing. From this evidence base, Models for Heroes can rely on the model making activity we promote and support is a positive and beneficial intervention for our bravest.
Its common sense to consider an enjoyable activity to be progressive to consider specific creative hobbies like model making could contribute in an advance in wellbeing.
Modellers say that once you are concentrating on small plastic parts and being very careful aligning and gluing them creates a meditative state where time dissapears. This state of mind that is termed “flow” by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It is complete absorption in a task in which stresses of day to day life seems to disappear. Concerns for the future and thoughts of the past are gone while the mind focuses on the task at hand.
a creative task has the potential to disrupt a loop of ruminating negative thinking that is common in depression or anxiety.
The neurological basis of occupation published in 2007 strongly supports the use of activities:
“…it was found that music, drawing, meditation, reading, arts and crafts, and home repairs, for example, can stimulate the neurogical system and enhance health and well-being, Prospective research studies are needed to examine the effects of purposeful activities on reducing stress and slowing the rate of cognitive decline.
To combat social isolation and loneliness, promote independence and mental wellbeing in older people the NICE guidelines recommends group based activities that:
provide the opportunity to socialise,
involve Arts and crafts and other creative activities,
relate to hobbies and interests, education and other learning opportunities,
provide opportunities for volunteering
© NICE 2020 OLDER PEOPLE: INDEPENDENCE AND MENTAL WELLBEING. Available from www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng32 All rights reserved. Subject to Notice of rights NICE guidance is prepared for the National Health Service in England. All NICE guidance is subject to regular review and may be updated or withdrawn. NICE accepts no responsibility for the use of its content in this publication.
In 2007, the UK Government’s Department of Health’s Review of Arts and Health Working Group, examined the role the arts can play in health. It’s findings were that arts should be considered as a component of healthcare as it provides measurable benefits including:
inducing positive physiological and psychological changes,
reducing drug consumption,
shortening length of hospital stay,
promoting better doctor-patient relationships.
In 2019 the World Health Organisation produced Evidence on the role of arts in improving health and well-being. The review found evidence that the arts can potentially impact both mental and physical health. Specifically it found that the arts can:
affect the social determinants of health,
support child development,
encourage health-promoting behaviours,
help to prevent ill health,
help people experiencing mental illness.
The report made the following fundamental recommendations to:
ensure that culturally diverse forms of art are available and accessible
encourage arts and cultural organizations to make health and well-being an integral and strategic part of their work
actively promote public awareness of the potential benefits of arts engagement for health
develop interventions that encourage arts engagement to support healthy
In 2019 the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Melbourne looked at the way forward for treatment of military-related PTSD and concluded that
creative art therapies may have have a role to play in augmenting existing treatments. However further research needs to be done. …
The following organisations are conducting research and hold a body of evidence referring to the use of creative activity in health care….
Kings Centre For Military Health Research is the leading civilian UK centre of excellence for military health research - independent of the Ministry of Defence. Their work influences government policy towards military personnel.
Unique research is being conducted at this US non profit organisation that has provided free therapeutic arts and crafts kits to hospitalised and home bound veterans since 1971. These craft kits help injured and recuperating veterans.
Moving aside from crafts and arts and how they can reinforce well being. A foundation of understanding for our beneficiaries’ experiences should be at the core of how we approach delivering our services. The Samaritans, in 2012 produced a report on Middle Aged men and the factors that cause them to die by suicide.
When asked what counts as emotional support,
many …men describe seeking out those in their network who are
perceived to be non-judgemental and who,
crucially, know them and the background to the
stories they are telling.
The importance of being given license to discuss out loud ones thoughts and feelings must not be understated. Establishing a free flowing and secure, non judgemental environment is key and a structured model making session provides this setting naturally.