Thursday, August 12, 2010

How Humanities Can Improve Health Care

Doctors and other healthcare professionals should use the arts and humanities to develop their empathic skills and improve mental healthcare practice, according to a new book.

Mental Health, Psychiatry and the Arts, edited by Dr Victoria Tischler in the Division of Psychiatry at The University of Nottingham, argues that visual art, poetry writing, novels and music can be used in the education of medical and nursing students and other mental health professionals to improve their understanding of the patient experience.

And the pleasure they can bring can also act as a mechanism for coping with the stresses of working with those who have mental health problems.

"The book aims to provide evidence of the value of the arts and humanities in the teaching of doctors and other mental healthcare professionals," said Dr Tischler. "My own students have responded positively to this mode of teaching; they have begun to paint, act and write poetry and some have read their first novel since starting medical school".

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