The significance of mental health inequities globally is illustrated by higher rates of anxiety and depression amongst racial and ethnic minority populations as well as individuals of lower socioeconomic status. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these pre-existing mental health inequities. With rising mental health concerns, arts engagement offers an accessible, equitable opportunity to combat mental health inequities and impact upstream determinants of health. As the field of public health continues to shift its focus toward social-ecological strategies, the social-ecological model of health offers an approach that prioritizes social and structural determinants of health. To capture the impacts of arts engagement, this paper creates an applied social-ecological model of health while aiming to advocate that engaging in the arts is a protective and rehabilitative behavior for mental health.

Rodriguez AK, Akram S, Colverson AJ, Hack G, Golden TL, Sonke J. Arts Engagement as a Health Behavior: An Opportunity to Address Mental Health Inequities. Community Health Equity Research & Policy. 2023;0(0). doi:10.1177/2752535X231175072

Authors include NOAH members Alex Rodriguez, Tasha Golden, and Jill Sonke.

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