Article by Manuel Charr, published on museumnext.com on September 6, 2021

“Medical professionals in Belgium have been told that they will be given permission to prescribe visits to museums in an effort to deal with a mental health crisis in the country. A three-month-long trial has been established in the country’s capital city, Brussels, which will mean doctors can write prescriptions that include museum trips to help to rebuild patients’ mental health. Mental health practitioners have detected a decline in the health of the Belgian population, largely due to the Covid pandemic which had resulted in several lockdowns in the country.

“Patients who are undergoing treatment for stress at the Brugmann Hospital will be offered prescriptions to visit up to five public museums in the Belgian capital. Crucially, these prescriptions will allow anyone who receives them to enter the cultural institutions concerned without charge. The Belgian museums that are taking part in the pilot scheme cover a wide range of subject matter. The patient could visit an art gallery or discover more about the subjects of fashion or sewage and waste water engineering as they see fit. The idea is to promote an engaging learning experience for the patient at no cost to themselves, something that will also see them out of their daily routine, something that can have a positive impact on mental health outlooks.”