The third topic of Voices of Culture 2021 – 2023 will generate project ideas and policy recommendations for the cultural and creative sectors and decision-makers on the topic of the role of the cultural and creative sectors in improving mental health of young people.
More than one in six people across EU countries had a mental health problem in 2016, well before the pandemic. ‘Mental health problems cover a wide range of illnesses, including disorders such as mild or moderate anxiety and depression, drug and alcohol use disorders, and severe disorders such as severe depression, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia’ (OECD/EU 2018). Mental health problems can be caused or aggravated by behavioural and environmental factors.
Worldwide and in the EU, there are numerous cultural and creative projects that address at different levels the mental health and wellbeing of young people, in terms of promotion, prevention, treatment, and management.
The recent scoping review promoted by WHO acknowledges that the aesthetic and emotional components of arts activities can provide opportunities for emotional expression, emotion regulation – intrinsic to how we manage our mental health – and stress reduction. Evidence is also abundant on the preventive benefits of arts engagement in relation to mental health. The Report shows how playing and listening to music, dancing, art and visiting cultural sites are all associated with stress management and prevention, lower levels of biological stress in daily life and lower daily anxiety. Cultural participation can also help to reduce the risk of developing mental illness such as depression in adolescence. Participating in arts activities can build self-esteem, self-acceptance, confidence, and self-worth, which are protective against mental illness.
The call is open to representatives of the cultural and creative sectors and other relevant sectors (professional organisations, cultural institutions, non-governmental organisations, European networks, foundations, private organisations, etc.) with relevant expertise on the topic Youth, Mental Health and Culture who would like to contribute to discussions with the European Commission. Organisations applying must be based in one of the 27 EU Member States.
The Brainstorming meeting for the topic will take place at the Goethe-Institut Brussels 4-5 October 2022. Voices Of Culture will cover participant’s travel expenses.