Doctors in Brussels will now be able to prescribe museum visits to rebuild mental health in the Belgian capital. The initiative is part of a three-month trial fostered by Delphine Houba, alderwoman responsible for culture and tourism in Brussels.
Patients being treated for stress at Brugmann hospital, will be offered free visits to five public museums in the city. The Musem of the City on the Grand Place, the Fashion and Lace on Rue de la Violette, the Sewer museum, the Manneken-Pis’s Wardrobe, and the Contemporary Art Center on Place Sainte-Catherine.
I am convinced of the capacity for solidarity from all Belgian museums towards vulnerable audiences to provide them with free access and support. But the decision is theirs based on the results of our pilot experienceDelphine Houba, Alderwoman of Culture, Tourism and Big Events
She explained that the idea comes from an initiative in Quebec, launched in 2018 by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Order of Physicians. Any doctor can issue up to 50 prescriptions per year to patients for whom he or she feels museum visits are beneficial. “This idea never left me,” she said to Belgian news outlet L’echo.
Accompanied visits will be prescribed to individuals and groups of in-patients at Brugmann hospital. Group visits for patients of the Stress Clinic (another section of Brugmann). This is a day structure whose patients already follow a therapeutic program now enriched with these museum visits, but in groups of 6 to 8 people already active together in the treatment.
I have decided to increase our financial support to cultural actors such as Docteur Zinzin and Le pont des Arts. The first is the clown who lights up the Children’s Hospital; the second is a multidisciplinary structure by which artists come to embellish the daily life of patientsDelphine Houba, Alderwoman of Culture, Tourism and Big Events
At the end of 2021, an assessment will be made. It will be fed by both the academic follow-up entrusted to students and doctoral students, and by the feedback of both medical and cultural teams on their experience of the experience. The covid crisis, accentuating stress, burn-out and other pathologies, has confirmed the relevance of such a project.
Since the beginning of her mandate in 2018, the alderwoman has focused on three key areas: accessibility of all to culture, links between culture and health, and place for women in culture.