West Yorkshire announces plan to boost health with creativity

A new approach has been launched to help improve people’s health through creative initiatives.

14 December 2023

A new approach to improving health through creativity has been announced as part of a collaboration between Mayor Tracy Brabin and the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership Board.

The region will become a ‘Creative Health System’, which will drive forward creative initiatives designed to make people feel happier and healthier.

Tailored creative courses to enhance wellbeing are part of the offer, with people of all ages benefiting - from improving the experience for young people staying in hospitals, to using dance as a way of combating isolation felt by older people.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“We’re working together to help people in West Yorkshire live happier and healthier lives.

“And we’re harnessing the success of our thriving creative industries to make it happen.

“Putting creative talent at the heart of healthcare will help us to build a stronger, brighter West Yorkshire."

Since her election as Mayor – in which Ms Brabin pledged to deliver a “Creative New Deal” – the number of creative jobs in the region has risen by 17%, with almost 50,000 advertised in West Yorkshire last year.

Rob Webster CBE, CEO for NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and CEO Lead for the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership Board, said: 

“West Yorkshire is a leader in creative health, with years of culture that boosts people’s physical recovery, tackles loneliness and supports those who may be struggling with their mental health.

“It is also a crucible of creativity as seen in Leeds 2023 and the Kirklees 2023 Year of Music, all the way through to Bradford as City of Culture in 2025. Bringing these worlds together we can do much more to keep people healthy and well for longer more fulfilling lives."

The term “creative health” describes the use of non-medical activities, from painting and playing music to cooking and gardening, which can be prescribed by health and care services to support people’s physical and mental health conditions.

Other initiatives include musicians writing lullabies with new families to reduce postnatal depression, a new “creative couch to 5k” app to help people practice new hobbies such as drawing, and community allotment gardening to support people with long term health conditions.

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