Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Critical perspectives on art on prescription

Jensen, Anita; Bungay, Hilary; Holt, Nicola

Critical perspectives on art on prescription Thumbnail


Anita Jensen

Hilary Bungay

Profile Image

Nicola Holt
Associate Professor in Psychology


The positive outcomes of engaging in the arts are increasingly reported in the research literature, supporting the use of the arts to enhance individual and community health and wellbeing. However, little attention is given to the less positive aspects of arts engagement. In some countries, healthcare practitioners and link workers can refer service-users experiencing mental health issues to social interventions such as Arts on Prescription (AoP) programmes. This critical review identifies problematic issues across such social prescriptions and AoP, including failures in arts and health projects, participants’ negative experiences, and an absence of ethical guidelines for arts and health practice. Furthermore, it is evident that there is a lack of awareness and knowledge within healthcare systems, leading to inappropriate referrals, failure to take account of individual preferences, and a lack of communication between the third sector and healthcare services. Significantly, it is also unclear who holds the health responsibility for AoP participants.
This article raises more questions than it answers, but for AoP to be effectively embedded in healthcare practice, the issues highlighted need to be addressed in order to safeguard participants and support the effective implementation of programmes more widely.


Jensen, A., Bungay, H., & Holt, N. (in press). Critical perspectives on art on prescription. Perspectives in Public Health,

Journal Article Type Review
Acceptance Date Mar 27, 2023
Online Publication Date May 12, 2023
Deposit Date Mar 27, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 13, 2023
Journal Perspectives in Public Health
Print ISSN 1757-9139
Electronic ISSN 1757-9147
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Arts on Prescription, mental health and wellbeing, social prescribing, primary healthcare, referrals
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations