GM i-THRIVE: Our Arts, Culture & Mental Health Programme

The Arts, Culture & Mental Health Programme is a branch of the GM i-THRIVE Programme, focusing on how arts and cultural activities help young people to thrive, in addition to how they can be used as effective, evidence-based mental health interventions.

As the only team nationally with a dedicated creative health programme, we’re breaking new ground with this programme, working with arts partners, children and young people, GM localities and all agency workforces to offer support on arts programmes and how these can be part of the GM i-THRIVE offer.

Our aim is to kick-start the changes needed for more flexible, relevant and enjoyable mental health support for young people, and ensure Greater Manchester is offering a more rounded psychosocial service.

During 2020, we partnered with arts providers to deliver a series of proof of concepts to test the feasibility and practicalities of arts-led and creative options, and to develop learning. We are now working across the system to implement a creative health offer in all ten Greater Manchester localities, for completion in June 2023.

Download our Guide to engaging with iTHRIVE Arts Culture and Mental Health Programme

Learn more about Arts Culture and Mental Health

Watch an overview of the Arts Culture and Mental Health programme:

Learn about a project in Bolton bringing creativity into CAMHS

What we do

Since April 2019, the team has been working closely with organisations and individuals from the cultural sector to develop a clear vision for innovative and evidence-based partnerships. We have taken significant steps towards understanding current provision, sharing good practice and training, implementing projects and developing an evaluation framework which is now in use.

The evidence

While there have been hundreds of studies on the role of culture and the arts in supporting wellbeing, no standard means of collecting and reporting data and outcomes are in place. Our GM i-THRIVE Youth Mental Health Arts & Culture Evaluation Kit allows findings from evidence-based practice to have a meaningful impact that commissioners can work with.

The kit was developed as a collaboration between Greater Manchester i-THRIVE and Greater Manchester Combined Authority as part of the Great Place programme,  42nd Street, Arts Council England, Mahdlo Youth Zone, University of Manchester, Z-arts, Lime arts, Contact Manchester and other key stakeholders.

The kit is tailor made to allow arts organisations to use it with ease, whilst collating the data that is useful in demonstrating impact to the health sector and commissioners.

Any Greater Manchester arts or culture organisations working with children and young people that are interested in using the evaluation can request a tailored version of the kit via the request page

How you can get involved 

The GM i-THRIVE team welcome practitioners working in children and young people’s services to become Arts, Culture and Mental Health Ambassadors. Through this scheme we support the Greater Manchester CYP MH workforce to better understand and make use of the benefits of the arts and culture for children and young people’s mental health. Sign up to be an arts ambassador

Community of Practice 

We will host a Creative Health Community of Practice on November 4th 2023.

Join the GM i-THRIVE Community of Practice to receive updates on all things thrive. You’ll receive our GM i-THRIVE newsletter, invites to THRIVE events, and shared learning on thrive-like practice.

Get in touch

Dr Kat Taylor is the Programme Lead, you are welcome to contact her for any further info: or via twitter @communikatt

Programme updates are delivered by the GM i-THRIVE team. You can contact the team via  @gmithrive  or sign up to the GM i-THRIVE Community of Practice to receive the Greater Manchester  i-THRIVE newsletter.