- • Despite the long-standing popularity of creative activity groups with mental health patients, there has been a lack of measurement evidencing a positive relationship between participation in such groups and improved mental health.
- • This study used de-identified hospital records covering the period 2004–2009 to chart measured mental health outcomes for 403 patients attending a creative activity group in an acute inpatient psychiatric setting.
- • Four different clinical assessment tools were used to measure changes in mental health from admission to discharge for participants of the creative activity group.
- • Research findings establish that participation in creative activity positively correlates with improved mental health.
- • In the context of this research project, the term ‘creative activity’ includes participation in art, craft or expressive art-based activity.
Responding to a call for quantitative outcome evidence about the therapeutic relationship between creative activity and mental health, this study examined the mental health outcomes of inpatients participating in art- and craft-based creative therapies at a private psychiatric hospital over a 5-year period. The creative activity group sample (n= 403) improved from admission to discharge across four different psychometric measures with moderate to strong mean effect sizes. Reductions from pre- to post-treatment in both self-reported and clinician-rated symptoms are clearly demonstrated for the creative activity group participant sample. Research findings establish that participation in creative activity has potential benefits for people experiencing mental health problems.