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Participatory arts, recovery and social inclusion

Tim Sayers (Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Leicester, UK)
Theodore Stickley (School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Article publication date: 11 June 2018



There is growing evidence of the contribution participatory arts practice may make towards mental health recovery. The purpose of this paper is to examine this phenomenon by critically reviewing the relevant literature in the light of the CHIME theoretical framework that identifies the components and processes of mental health recovery.


Using a critical realist review method, the study draws upon foundational social and psychological theories offering an analysis of the identified mental health recovery processes in relation to participatory arts activities for people that use mental health services.


This review identifies themes that permeate the categories of CHIME and are widely delivered by participatory arts in mental health projects. These themes define the essence of a recovery approach of care and are delivered, sometimes uniquely, through arts in mental health work.


Whilst mental health outcomes are frequently sought in participatory arts projects, there is sparse theoretical evidence to under-pin such work. This review provides potential recovery outcomes through a theoretical inquiry into participatory arts and psychosocial theories.



Sayers, T. and Stickley, T. (2018), "Participatory arts, recovery and social inclusion", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 149-156.



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