Creativity and culture can support mental health if infrastructure organisations...


  • Coproduce a shared, open language and identity for ‘culture, health and wellbeing’ that can support a representative workforce and tackle questions of value and recognition.
  • Learn from and build on existing practice frameworks to help people work confidently and safely.

Support practitioners

  • Set out recommended frameworks for practitioner support to change the status quo.
  • Lobby for appropriate compensation for practitioners and people with lived experience.
  • Support and develop practitioners’ professional confidence and self-esteem.

Encourage safe practice

  • Support practice that considers the wellbeing and safety of practitioners, partners and beneficiaries in its frameworks; this may require investment in support workers, training (at minimum we suggest practitioners should receive training in safeguarding, equality & diversity, and mental health first aid), additional facilitators and supervision, for example.

Support research

Work with the research community to:

  • provide concise information to practitioners about relevant research, translating key elements into accessible forms where necessary
  • build the relationship between research and practice
  • consider the ways in which culture and creativity can respond to both local need and structural inequities.

Support the development of local ecologies

  • Support local clusters for small organisations and freelancers to share resources, tackle personal and professional development, and provide peer support and reflective spaces.
  • Support more joined-up relationships between the arts and the broader community and health and social care sectors.
  • Work with local voluntary and community sector hubs to develop opportunities for arts organisations and freelancers to understand different elements of the health and care system and how they can approach it.

Help build a representative sector

  • Develop and support targeted efforts to support ethnically diverse practitioners and practitioners identifying as Disabled.
  • Ensure your marketing highlights role models from diverse backgrounds and identifying as Disabled.


  • Help practitioners get the message out about their work.
  • Amplify work led by people of diverse ethnicities, people identifying as Disabled, and people identifying with any and all of the protected characteristics, as well as people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

Model good practice

  • Support a caring working culture in your own organisations, adhering to the principles of practitioner support outlined above, built on good communication, reasonable and flexible working hours and expectations, appropriate pay, and opportunities for skills development and peer support.
  • A substantial proportion of creative and cultural work for mental health is led by people with their own experience of mental health challenges or the mental health system. This leadership by lived experience is hugely beneficial and should be integrated at every level of infrastructure governance, strategy, design and delivery by providing additional support where it is needed, and ensuring institutional practice is founded on this knowledge.
  • Ensure you pay the people you are working with: from internships to consultation, make sure you compensate people for their time from the first meeting onwards – especially those who are self-employed or not in employment. Remember that people you approach may not feel able to ask for this; support your partners by offering compensation from the beginning.

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