Arts, Creativity and Mental Health Initiative (ACMI)

Image of Trongate Studios by John O'Connor

In 2004, the Mental Health Foundation's Arts, Creativity and Mental Health Initative was awarded three years' Development funding by the Scottish Executive under its National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing.

The Arts, Creativity and Mental Health Initiative was a two phase project looking at art therapies trial services and participatory arts self evaluation approach project for arts based organisations.

The Arts, Creativity and Mental Health Intiative: Executive summary of the findings of four arts therapies trail services: 2003-2005 aims to highlight the art therapies as a holistic approach to mental health provision, which builds on the inherent strength of individuals and acknowledges their inner resources.  An important component of the report is to outline the potential for art therapies to work within and alongside communties, to develop an accessible and meaningful service response.  Included in the report is the key findings of the four art therapies trial services who participated within the project.  These trial services came about as a result of a proposal commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation working in association with the Scottish Arts Therapies Forum, Centre for Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine and others.  This proposal became known as the Arts, Creativity and Mental Health Initative(ACMI).  It set out to develop a rational that would explain the health benefits of participation in the arts, whether in therapy, in community arts activities, or in leisure.  It also advocated the development of an evidence base for both the arts therapies and arts-in-health.

Our Participatory Arts Self Evaluation Project was a six month capacity building and mentoring project for Scottish based participatory arts projects.  
 
The project was led by the Mental Health Foundation in association with the Scottish Arts Council’s ArtFull Initiative and Evaluation Scotland and supported by the National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well Being, Scottish Executive.

The primary aim of this project was to pilot a self-evaluation approach amongst a small group of participatory arts projects from six pilot sites.

The Participatory Arts Self Evaluation Approach project evolved out of a dialogue with arts projects and service users throughout Scotland, many of whom had expressed a real concern about the lack of priority given to creative approaches within mental health settings.