Change that leads to better lives

The impact and effectiveness of meaningful activity for people with mental health problems

This paper provides a review of research on the impact and effectiveness of meaningful activity for people with mental health problems. The document is intended for practitioners who work with people with mental health problems to help inform their work.

It includes:

  • An overview of the quantity and quality of the research in this area
  • A summary of the studies reviewed
  • Some key findings
  • A summary of areas identified for future research
  • A table detailing the research studies reviewed and their relevant findings

to read the review document in full click here

Key Findings:

The vast majority of the studies found people experience positive outcomes from participating in meaningful activity or occupation, including:

  • a sense of purpose or meaning to life
  • a structure or routine to the day; acquisition of skills
  • feeling useful
  • a sense of identity
  • social interaction and increased social networks
  • improved wellbeing; access to employment or education
  • qualifications
  • creative challenge
  • self-expression
  • improved confidence
  • aspiration
  • improved self-esteem

This document is part of a series of 'introduction to research’ papers produced for Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust (C&I).

Other documents within the series include:

C&I’s academics have a strong track record in research around social interventions for people with mental ill health. The papers do not claim to be a comprehensive account of all evidence available in this area. Instead they are provided for those who are keen to know what research already exists, where to find it and what areas might usefully be further explored.

Our thanks to Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust for agreeing to share the work.

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