The charity, Paintings in Hospitals, is running a campaign called ’70 Ways Art Improves our Health’ to increase awareness of the beneficial impact art has on our wellbeing. Starting at 70, and counting down to 1, Paintings in Hospitals is sharing a different benefit art has on health each day. The posts commenced in the last week of April and the final post will be shared on July 5 which is the official founding date of the NHS.

Starting off with “Art can help us get active” at number 70, several positives of art for health and well-being have already been shared.

This included the benefits of dance for our older population; the positives of live music being played in neonatal intensive care units; and the value of art for those having rehabilitation for a stroke. Each post is supported by an informative explanation of the evidence in the form of a blog post on their website:

Background of the charity

Paintings in Hospitals is a British charity created in 1959 by Sheridan Russell.

The charity established a special collection of art for hospitals. This collection of art is increasing and is comprised of work by a large variety of artists including, Andy Warhol, Quentin Blake, and Bridget Riley, among others. The charity uses the collection of paintings to add creativity and a sense of homeliness to the wards and waiting rooms of hospitals.

Additionally, the charity runs creative activities and art walks to coincide with the displayed artworks in an effort to aid engagement with the work.

In a climate of increased workplace stress, increasing awareness of ways of improving our well-being and health can only be well received. Indeed, post 64 of ’70 Ways Art Improves our Health’ suggests that “doodling helps our focus, memory and stress levels”.

Something like this would not be difficult to incorporate into our daily routines as doodling could easily be done while having breakfast, mid-morning in a work break, or during lunch. Furthermore, research reported last year that adult colouring books are beneficial to mental health provides further support of art being a useful tool for boosting wellbeing and health.

Find out more

If you would like to follow the posts for the remainder of Paintings in Hospitals’ countdown to the 70th anniversary of the NHS, you can find the Paintings in Hospitals charity on their official Twitter @artinhospitals and Instagram @paintingsinhospitals accounts.

To find out more about the everyday uses and benefits of the arts in healthcare and therapeutic settings, check out the British Association of Art Therapy (BAAT) which can be found via their Twitter account @baat_org.