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Research featured in programme on the nation's major health challenges

03 November 2015

Research by the University's Sidney De Haan Centre for Arts and Health and Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology is featured in a unique programme by ITN Productions and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).

Improve and Protect is a news and current affairs style programme exploring some of the nation’s major public health challenges and recent initiatives taken in the sector to combat them. It was premiered at RSPH's Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony in London last month and aims to heighten awareness among policy makers, politicians and the wider public.

In the programme, introduced by national newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky, a wide range of measures which are being taken to improve health services and educate individuals are explored. This includes the work of Christ Church academics who are researching the positive impact arts and culture can have on physical and mental health.

Professor Stephen Clift, Director of the Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health, explained: “For a decade the centre has conducted research on the link between singing and health, which has provided reliable and consistent evidence to support the case for ‘arts on prescription’.

“Our most recent work included the world’s first randomised controlled trial on community singing and health, examining the effectiveness and cost effectiveness it has on the health and wellbeing of older people.

“As the population ages, caring for older people will put a greater demand on the country’s health and social care budget. Our research showed how community singing can have a significant positive effect on the mental health and quality of life of older people including reducing anxiety, depression and the feeling of loneliness and isolation experienced by so many older people, which can have a serious effect upon their wellbeing, and for little cost. It could help to make a significant saving in the NHS budget and should be considered an important element in any public mental health strategy for our aging population.”

Shirley Cramer, Chief Executive, RSPH said: “The media discourse around health in the UK has traditionally been dominated by the language of 'cure' and we need to move towards promoting the benefits of wellbeing and healthy lifestyles. If we are to save our struggling NHS we need to speak out loudly about the benefits of prevention. This film is an important step in shifting the debate about prevention, and we are looking forward to working with ITN Productions and our partners on this and future films.”

The programme also features work by Dr Trish Vella-Burrowes from the Centre and Dr Paul Camic, Professor of Psychology and Public health at the University’s Salomon’s Centre for Applied Psychology, who are both conducting research into how dance projects and museums and the arts can help people with dementia. As well as the work of Professor Emeritus Grenville Hancox, who is using group singing to help people with Parkinson’s.

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With almost 18,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 95% of our UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2013/14 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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Last edited: 28/06/2018 16:54:00