DOI: 10.1111/jpm.12970 ISSN:

Community‐based art groups in mental health recovery: A systematic review and narrative synthesis

Jessica Marian Goodman‐Casanova, Jose Guzman‐Parra, Fermin Mayoral‐Cleries, Daniel Cuesta‐Lozano
  • Pshychiatric Mental Health



Though the evidence of the role of the arts in mental health is growing, no systematic review has focused on the impact of art groups in non‐clinical settings in the process of recovery following the CHIME framework.


The aim of this study was to examine the effects of engaging in community‐based art groups in mental health recovery.


A search in five electronic databases for relevant research using quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods published between 2000 and 2019 identified nine eligible studies.


While there was great methodological heterogeneity, most studies were qualitative, used visual arts, facilitated by artists and assessed by mental health nurses, and took place in community locations or artistic venues. Quantitative outcomes, though few, provided evidence of increased well‐being, and qualitative outcomes corresponded mostly with the recovery process of Connectedness. Additional outcomes related to the settings were a sense of safety and to the intervention: self‐expression, development of skills and achievements, and the impact of final exhibitions and peer leadership.


Studies should aim at prospective designs following mixed methods approaches, with larger and gender‐sensitive samples, control groups and follow‐up assessments, and evaluate cost‐effectiveness.

Implications for practice

Community‐based art groups which increase well‐being and promote connectedness should be key in recovery‐action planning.

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