Placing pictures of natural landscapes in mental health settings can reduce anxiety levels among service users and, subsequently, their need for medication, according to US researchers.
Art was displayed on a rotation basis on the walls of an acute care psychiatric unit.
Results showed drugs dispensed by nurses for anxiety and agitation was significantly lower on days when a realistic nature image of a landscape was displayed, as compared to days when abstract art or no art was displayed.
The authors said: “The study concluded that positive distractions, like visual art depicting restorative nature scenes, could help to reduce mental health patients’ anxiety and agitation in healthcare settings.”
- Nanda U, et al. Effect of visual art on patient anxiety and agitation in a mental health facility and implications for the business case. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (2011) 18: 386-393