People Can Be Prescribed “Photography” as a Mental Health Treatment in the UK

Photography is Prescribed as Mental Health Treatment in the UK

Photo: olhovyi_photographer/Depositphotos

Creative outlets like drawing and painting are great ways of exploring your emotions and relieving stress. However, it isn't that easy to embark on a new hobby, especially when you lack the resources. A new initiative in the UK seeks to change that, by prescribing photography as a mental health treatment. Launched by Wex Photo Video, this project is supported by the National Academy of Social Prescribing (NASP). Once a GP or healthcare professional refers a patient to the “Photography on Prescription” program, they will be granted access to photography equipment and masterclasses by Wex, with the intention of giving them the tools to improve their mental health.

People suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, self-esteem issues, and loneliness can all benefit from practicing photography and other creative outlets, according to studies. “Photography can be so much more than a hobby; it's a powerful tool for conveying emotion,” says Paul Wareham, marketing director of Wex Photo Video. “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.”

By giving a camera to those struggling with mental health, it will hopefully help patients express their thoughts and feelings without the need for words. So far, community groups in London, Bristol, and Greater Manchester have signed up for the program. A participant from the first masterclass held in London on September 26—which was based around the prompt “Who am I?”—said that she feels “more motivated than ever” to use her camera to express her emotions.

The early positive responses provide hope that this project will continue to grow across the UK and help others with “low level mental health issues” through photography.

h/t: [PetaPixel]

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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