If you suspected that photography was good for your mental health, you’d be right! The United Kingdom has introduced a new pilot scheme which allows healthcare professionals to prescribe photography as a mental health treatment.
This initiative is a collaborative effort between Wex Photo Video and the National Academy of Social Prescribing (NASP) and is being rolled out as a trial.
Community groups taking part
Already, three community groups in the UK have eagerly joined the pilot program. Arts Network in London, creativeShift in Bristol, and START Centre in Greater Manchester will all benefit from the therapeutic potential of photography.
Wex Photo Video reports that one London-based participant said that she “feels more motivated than ever to use her camera to express [her] emotions.”
The NASP is a British charity that promotes non-medical forms of support to address various issues, including loneliness and stress. It fully supports the Wex Photo Video pilot.
An antidote to loneliness
Chief Executive Charlotte Osborn-Forde emphasized the significance of social prescribing, saying, “Social prescribing can make a huge difference to people experiencing loneliness, poor mental health, or a wide range of physical health conditions.”
Under this program, healthcare professionals can recommend photography as a therapeutic tool for patients. The Photography on Prescription pilot offers access to equipment provided by Wex, as well as photography masterclasses led by experienced photographer Daniel Regan.
Participants can use Canon cameras and have their photos printed in specially created journals. Online resources will also be available for ongoing support.
Conveying emotion through photos
Paul Wareham, Marketing Director of Wex Photo Video, noted, “Photography can be so much more than a hobby; it’s a powerful tool for conveying emotion. By giving people with mental health difficulties access to masterclasses, equipment, and ongoing support, we want to connect them to a wider community, help develop their self-esteem and give them a channel for self-expression. Whilst photography will never be the total solution, we hope that this project will help some people who are currently struggling.”
Wex Photo Video sees this initiative as the first step toward a long-term effort to assist individuals dealing with mental health issues through photography. They aim to expand their resources and include more participating programs to provide vital support to those in need.
This sounds like an interesting initiative and something that should be more widely available. The arts, in general, have great therapeutic potential. It’s fantastic to see this being acknowledged after so many cutbacks in arts education.
There’s nothing in life much better than getting outside in the fresh air with a camera. But maybe that’s just me!