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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 6/22/2012

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)



One of the causes of social exclusion and discrimination associated with mental illnesses is a misperception that people who have mental illnesses lack the same interests and abilities as everyone else. Art, including the visual and performing arts, can be a powerful force in correcting this misperception. Using music, dance, painting, sculpture, poetry, theater, and more, people with mental illnesses can demonstrate their creativity, insightfulness and intelligence. Through art, they send the message that "I work, live, and play, just like you,? which can lead individuals to question and ultimately reject stigmatizing myths. Also, the confidence-building and peer support that can be found in arts programs can be powerful forces in recovery from mental illnesses.

This Web page provides information and research about how the arts help to address mental health issues, promote recovery from mental illnesses, and increase social inclusion and reduce discrimination.

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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.