Arts on Prescription

Arts on Prescription_adults RGB

What is Arts on Prescription ?

Arts on Prescription is a series of friendly, weekly art workshops for people experiencing depression, anxiety and/or other mental health problems. Led by a professional artist and a qualified counsellor, they offer the chance to experience working with a wide range of materials and techniques, including drawing, printmaking and sculpture. Sessions last for two hours and are open to all abilities – no experience necessary – and offer the opportunity to work on something creative, stimulating and absorbing with the aim of increasing well-being. A ‘hands-on art workshop’ is a good description of Arts on Prescription, it is important to understand that it is not art therapy, although participants find it therapeutic!  The counsellor is there in case anything comes up, which sometimes happens, but generally, the artist and counsellor co-facilitate the workshop by taking part in the creative activities alongside the participants.   

There are places available for Arts on Prescription workshops currently taking place 1-3pm on Tuesdays at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, and from 1-3pm on Wednesdays at the Norris Museum in St Ives from September 2018, and from 3-5pm on Thursdays at Peterborough Museum from October 2018.

Listen below to our recent appearance on the BBC Radio 4 Programme ‘Front Row’.



How do I Take Part?

If you are interested in participating in Arts on Prescription, you can download a referral form by clicking on this blue link: Arts on Prescription Referral Form 2018 to complete with your GP or any other professional working with you, take a photo of it or scan to email it to or print and send in the post to Arts on Prescription Project Manager, Arts and Minds, 47-51 Norfolk Street, Cambridge CB1 2LD.

How do I refer a client to Arts on Prescription?

  • If you would like to refer someone to Arts on Prescription, you can download a referral form by clicking on this blue link: Arts on Prescription Referral Form 2018 to complete with the potential participant. An alternative to CBT, Arts on Prescription provides weekly workshops for adults experiencing depression and anxiety. Evidence shows it to be effective in reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Previous sessions were the subject of evaluation research carried out in association with Anglia Ruskin University and the London School of Economics (LSE) which found that Arts on Prescription resulted in positive outcomes for 78% of participants in terms of self-reported improvement in levels of social isolation, anxiety, depression and wellbeing and was shown by health economists at LSE to have cost saving potential for the NHS when compared to CBT.

What will I be doing in the workshops?

  • The precise arts activities vary from series to series depending which venue you are based in, the collections that are accessible to us and how the group is responding to suggestions week to week. They will be varied, the inspiration gained from the museums and site visits will be interesting and stimulating and the materials we give you to work with will be of high quality. We feel all of that is very important. If you would like to download a small word document with some brief examples of themes and materials to give you more of an idea what to expect please click here.
  • You can read a blog here from the Access and Outreach Officer of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge who supports the Arts & Minds group when they visit the museum. It will give you some reflections and insights into what people experience and enjoy from visiting cultural/heritage venues while on the course.

What does it do?

A survey of participants before and after taking part in the 2014/15 programme found:
• 76 per cent reported an increase in wellbeing
• 73 per cent reported a decrease in depression
• 71 per cent reported a decrease in anxiety
• 69 per cent reported an increase in social inclusion

  • You can download one of our reports from the following link arts on prescription 2010_12_research report_susan potter or go to the Research and Evidence page.
    If you would like more information on the full report please contact us on 01223 353053 or email
  • If you would like to talk to someone to find out more about Arts on Prescription, please call us on 01223 353 053

A Testimony

I feel really privileged to have been able to access Arts on Prescription. It has helped me so much at the time, and since then, by giving me techniques to use, confidence, encouragement, peer support, a new coping mechanism, etc. I am so thankful to have been a participant. My husband said it is one of the best things I have ever done. I appreciate the role of medication and talking therapies, but this intervention really made an important additional difference, with a longer lasting effect. Thankyou for all you do in this area, I am passionate that others can benefit in the way that I have! (Maria)