Imagine you’re an executive looking at costs absorbed by your company for lost days at work.

How much are employee absences due to depression or illnesses arising from weakened immune systems? Anxiety, stress, they weaken immune systems and make employees vulnerable to diseases.

How much does a healthy attitude matter? Or self confidence and a sense of belonging; can they help improve attendance and performance?

There may be a wide variety of distracting and upsetting factors in your employees’ lives, issues that affect performance every day. But what to do? What can be done that’s affordable?

Enable employees to participate in or attend Creative Experiences.

Yes, according to the Creative Health: the Arts for Health and Well-being, Inquiry report from Britain, employees engaging with creative experiences in their new arts prescription program, saw a 37% drop in visits to their family doctor and a 27% reduction in hospital visits, the economic return on investment was averaging at eight to one.

Less relatable to your business perhaps but notable still for the security and well being of their society; 79% of people in the poorest communities in London ate more healthily; 77% engaged in more physical activity; 82% enjoyed greater well-being.

These benefits deliver emotional, physical and mental health benefits to participants. The benefits of attending or participating in creative experiences have long been known in Canada and much of the world.

“The arts provide…self-esteem and a sense of identity and belonging, connecting people and celebrating life. All these things are part of an individual’s healing process,” says Susan Perlstein, founder of the (American) National Centre for Creative Aging.

“Attending cultural events is linked with longevity. People who rarely attended such events [theatre, concerts and live music performances, museums, art exhibitions, and cinema] ran a nearly 60% higher mortality risk than those attending most often,” says Lars Olov Bygren, Boinkum Benson Konlaan, Sven-Erik Johansson, Department of Social Medicine, University of Umea, Sweden.

“…arts and culture can contribute directly to the long term health and well being of both individuals and communities and thus to avoiding future demands on the health care system,” adds Nancy J. Cooley, Embracing Change Creatively, Victoria, Canada.

If you are interested in being part of the Arts for Health movement to share this knowledge and develop a pilot arts prescriptions project in Mississauga, contact the undersigned and then get out and enjoy a creative experience!

By Mike Douglas, Executive Director of the Mississauga Arts Council. 

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