One in five primary school children will experience mental health problems

The Cultural Learning Alliance and Place2Be have released a new evidence briefing detailing the importance of arts in promoting wellbeing

One in five primary school children will experience mental health problems

A child with a conduct disorder is twice as likely to leave school without educational qualifications, four times more likely to develop a drug addiction, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. 

These are some of the statistics cited in a new evidence briefing document published by the Cultural Learning Alliance and Place2Be ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The Arts, Health & Wellbeing: Why the arts make us happier and healthier details a list of studies that demonstrate that participation in the arts can have a positive impact on the mental wellbeing of young people, and sets them up to be both more resilient and more confident. 

Italian data has found that access to culture is the second most important determinant of wellbeing - ranking higher than factors such as occupation, age, income and education.  The Scottish Government has found that people were 38% more likely to report good health when they participated in a creative or cultural activity, while Arts Council England found that almost 60% of people were more likely to report good health if they had attended a cultural place or event in the last 12 months.  

The document also detailed how different art forms can help with different areas of health and wellbeing. For example, dance has shown to improve the physical health and self-esteem of participants, and theatre helps with social skills and emotional wellbeing. 

Learning to play an instrument has been shown to help children deal better with stress. Likewise, the act of making art (visual of performance) is found to develop a young person’s sense of identity and self-efficacy. 

In the document foreword, President and Founder of Place2Be, Dame Benita Refson, said:

“I believe the arts can give children a vital creative outlet to express and make sense of their emotions, in particular when they might not always have the words to describe what they’re feeling.” 

The full briefing document can be downloaded from the Cultural Alliance Learning website.

Mental health awareness week is 14-20 May. You can view a whole range of mental health content over in the Voice in your head Voicebox. 


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe..

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