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Aims & funding

Image of a tent from ArtlinkMental health is not an issue only for those with mental illness or mental health problems, it is an issue for us all, both individually and collectively. The arts can play a vital role in helping to build a culture that supports everyone’s mental wellbeing.

Scotland’s Culture1 recognises the positive benefits and value of arts participation in promoting well-being. It states that ‘one of the most important things about cultural activity is simply that it is enjoyable and the opportunities it unlocks are quite unique’.

New policy and legislative emphasis on the positive role of the arts in mental health and wellbeing reflects a practice that is being developed by many organisations and artists across Scotland. Echoing the World Health Organization’s declaration, an editorial in the British Medical Journal2 stated ‘there is more to health than physical completeness or the absence of pain’. The BMJ then went further to state that spending more money on the arts would probably improve health.

The aims of the Scottish Government’s National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-being reflect a new overall vision for mental health in Scotland, focusing on promotion and prevention as well as care and treatment, and advocating for the protection and promotion of positive mental health and well-being for all people in Scotland.

Our goal is to ensure the widest possible opportunities for participation in high quality arts activities to promote positive mental health. The four key aims of the ArtFull strategy are as follows:

  1. Promote increased access and participation in arts activity, particularly for those suffering from, or are at increased risk of experiencing, mental health problems and/or illness.
  2. Develop increased mainstream and inter-agency partnership commitment for arts and mental health projects.
  3. Support, develop and articulate quality artistic practice in the field of arts and mental health work.
  4. Develop a research/evidence base that helps demonstrate and promote the benefits of the arts in relation to mental health and well-being.


Artfull is currently funding eleven Exemplar projects and has no further funding available for arts, mental health and wellbeing projects in this financial year 2007/08.

1 Scotland’s Culture, Response on the Culture Review, Scottish Executive 2006
2 Richard Smith, British Medical Journal, December 2002

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