Finland - International Document

Art prevents loneliness

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Ansio H, Furu P, Houni P

Year of Publication:

Arts Equal

Publication Type:
Other Paper


The Arts Equal research initiative, coordinated by the University of the Arts Helsinki,in collaboration and interaction with more than 50 partners,examined how the arts as public service can increase equality and well-being in Finland and meet the social challenges of the 2020s.

This policy brief is meant for decision makers, NGOs, churches, the media, and any¬one interested in loneliness among Finns and how its consequences can be alleviated.

According to a survey on adults’ health, well-being and services from 2015, more than 400, 000 adults in Finland feel that they are lonely. Loneliness has considerable impacts on public health, with studies showing that loneliness can shorten average lifespan and increase the risk of mental illness. Research has shown that professionally organized art and cultural activities have positive effects that help to alleviate loneliness, treat health problems, reduce costs of health care and generally enhance well-being. Participation in communal art activities is known to support the formation of social relations and networks.

Arts Equal proposes the following:
1) Organizers of art and cultural activities, such as municipalities, churches and NGOs should increase access to and the accessibility of participatory arts among different age groups and target them especially to those who are in the risk groups, i.e. people who live alone, single parents, immigrants, unemployed people, and people on disability pension.
2) Organizers of art and cultural activities should lower the threshold for participatory community art and cultural activities to make it easy for all people to take part, regardless of their background.
3) Organizers of art and cultural activities should pay attention to the potentials of participatory art and cultural activities in the prevention of loneliness also among people who live in remote areas. It is the duty of Finland’s provinces to ensure that cultural rights and well-being are taken into account when comparing the competitiveness of service providers.

Evidence Type: Policy Document

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Discussion / Debate

Context: Community

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Ansio H., Furu P., Houni P. (2016). Art prevents loneliness. Helsinki: Arts Equal.