Brussels Launches a Museum Prescription Project to Support Mental Health

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October 12, 2022

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(BRUSSELS) – The City of Brussels launched a new project that lets psychiatrists at Brugmann Hospital prescribe free museum visits to their patients.

Pauline Duclaud-Lacoste, the cultural policies project manager for the City of Brussels, told The Click that a museum prescription works like a regular medical prescription. It starts with a medical consultation. If the patient feels the program is a good fit, their doctor fills the script with a date and duration for the visit. They can come alone or bring up to three guests. Patients meet with their psychiatrist again following their visit to the museum and share their experiences with the provider. 

Five cultural venues are signed up to participate in the pilot program; the Sewer Museum, the Fashion and Lace Museum, the Brussels City Museum, the CENTRALE for contemporary art and the MannekenPis Wardrobe. 

The program was inspired by a Canadian project that used art therapy to address physical and mental health challenges. A 2019 World Health Organization report found that art therapy can be an effective treatment for mental health conditions.

The Brussels museum prescription project will complete its pilot phase in six months. Duclaud-Lacoste said that the team leading the initiative still has to observe how the doctors will use this therapeutic tool in practice. “Essentially, starting with a small-scale project and establishing a pilot phase will enable us to see how the tool will perform, to learn more and if successful, to expand.”

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