Patients treated for stress in the Belgian capital Brussels will be offered free visits to museums, as part of a three-month trial designed to rebuild mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Doctors at the Brugmann hospital will be able to prescribe visits to five public museums across the city.
The initiative was first proposed by Delphine Houba, Brussels city councillor for culture and tourism. Speaking to the Belgian newspaper L'Echo
, she said:
“It has been shown that art is good for mental and physical health.
“The COVID crisis, accentuating stress has made this project highly relevant.”
The museum visits will be prescribed to patients either individually or as part of a group treatment.
The latter will see between six to eight people, who are in a "stress recovery group", visit the museums together.
The results of the initiative will be monitored and published in a report later this year.
If the pilot scheme in Brussels is successful, it could lead to other Belgian cities following suit with similar programmes.