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At Workman Arts we value evidence and evaluation on our programs.  Here we have compiled research done over the years assessing the intersection of the arts and mental health. Much of the listed research also addresses the impact that the arts can have on changing perspectives and reducing stigma around mental health and addictions. For any questions about the research listed here, please contact

Click on the topic below for research in that area:

Reducing Stigma

Art & Mental Illness

Theatre Analysis

Reducing Stigma

Changing stigma against mental illness: Evaluating the impact of a youth film program

Rendezvous in the Classroom succeeded in reducing stigma in youth and increasing awareness of mental illness and its treatment. This study replicated findings that contact, in person and through film, can reduce stigma against mental illness when paired with educational programming.
Youths in Toronto want to learn more about the how to detect, treat, and help others with mental illness.

Measuring Stigma to assess the impact of an anti-stigma intervention targeted to adolescents

In order to eventually evaluate the effectiveness of the Youth Film Program at decreasing stigmatizing attitudes in the adolescent population, I generated a review of the literature looking at the different tools that are available to measure the success of anti-stigma programs in this population. I identified 5 studies that made use of 4 different stigma measures: Knowledge Test, Social Distance Scale, Attribution Questionnaire and Public Stigma Scale. Each of these tests measure stigma by targeting a specific construct of the stigmatization concept. All of the tests successfully detected statistically significant changes in stigmatizing attitudes post-intervention.

Reducing Stigma Through Built-Form Interventions: The case of CAMH

Using planning and mental health literature, as well as interviews and surveys, this Current Issues Paper takes a critical approach to the assertion that changing the builtform of the CAMH Queen Street site can reduce or eliminate the stigma of the site and its patients. Results indicated that, although bringing people with mental illness in contact with the wider community can be effective in reducing stigma, it could also have the opposite effect of increasing stigma. It is also possible that the risks of facilitating contact have not been adequately addressed.

Art & Mental Illness

Evaluating Art in Mental Health: Quality of Life Outcomes in Workman Arts Members

This study explored the impact of participation in six-week art training programs on quality of life using the World Health Quality of Life Instrument and the Workman Arts Quality of Life Inventory. No changes in quality of life scores were found, however, participants’ personal statements in response to an open-ended question showed appreciation and enjoyment of the artistic and social opportunities provided by the classes and a sense of improved health and enhance positive regard for self.

Deciphering the links that bind mental illness and creativity

Preliminary results indicate that there is a strong link between bipolar disorder and creativity and no link between depression and creativity. The link between schizophrenia and creativity appear two-fold – while having the disease is negatively correlated with increased creativity, having a predisposition to experiencing the positive symptoms of this disease and a family history of the disease is positively correlated to the disease. Therefore, in conclusion, the link between creativity and mental illness appears to depend on the disorder and the type of symptoms within a disorder being studied.

Theatre Analysis

Stage Turns by Kirsty Johnston – Chapter 3: Workman Arts

“Stage Turns documents the development and innovations of disability theatre in Canada, the aesthetic choices and challenges of the movement, and the multiple spatial scales at which disability theatre operates, from the local to the increasingly global. Kirsty Johnston provides histories of Canada’s leading disability theatre companies, emphasizing the early importance of local efforts in the absence of national coordination. Close readings of individual productions demonstrate how aesthetic choices matter and can be a source of solidarity or debate between different companies and artists. This comparative approach allows for a nuanced consideration of disability theatre’s breadth and internal differences.” -McGill-Queen’s University Press