Psychological therapists will be able to access training to deliver arts therapy in their communities.
A project which uses the arts to tackle depression has been awarded funding to develop the work in other organisations.
Arts for the Blues is a creative arts therapy model that uses a range of creative approaches, including visual art, creative writing, music, drama, dance and movement, to support people experiencing depression, low mood and anxiety.
The team behind the project, which includes experts from the University of Salford and Edge Hill University, has been awarded £50,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to develop a training package for practitioners to deliver the model within their service.
- National Centre for Creative Health to 'mainstream' arts in health and social care
- Missing voices in culture, health and wellbeing research
The project was co-founded by Scott Thurston, Professor of Poetry and Innovative Creative Practice at the University of Salford, alongside Dr Joanna Omylinska-Thurston at the University of Salford, and Vicky Karkou, Professor of Arts & Wellbeing at Edge Hill University.
Karkou said: “It’s really exciting to see Arts for the Blues go from strength to strength, and this funding is another significant boost for the project.
"We are already sharing our work with interested parties internationally via our links with the World Health Organisation, and there is a great need for alternative approaches to mental health care almost everywhere. Creativity and the arts can make a huge difference."
The initiative is based on eight 'key ingredients' that can help people change positively: encouraging active engagement, learning skills, developing relationships, expressing emotions, processing at a deeper level, gaining understanding, experimenting with different ways of being and integrating useful material.
It has been developed through a mixture of academic research, public input, artistic work and contributions from NHS staff and service users. Piloting took place in-person and online at NHS services, schools and in the community.
Dr Omylinska-Thurston said: "I've worked for the NHS for 25 years, and it means a lot to me that we can now train psychological therapists in local organisations and in the NHS and hopefully contribute an exciting innovation to existing provision across services in our region.
"We know that creative approaches can help to reach some of the most disadvantaged members of our community to whom talking therapy does not always appeal."