The burden of mental illness, stress, depression, or burnout can invite isolation. In this case, culture can save patients’ lives. For this reason, the city of Brussels launches a pilot project from Monday 12 September. The medical staff of the psychiatric department of the CHU Brugmann can now order a visit to the museum. It’s a museum recipe and it’s completely free.
With Brussels sauce
The museum’s recipe is an initiative inspired by the Brussels Councilor for Culture, Delphine Houba. The idea comes from Quebec, Canada, but the commissioner wanted to adapt the idea “to Brussels sauce”.
Specifically, the psychiatrists and psychologists of the CHU Brugmann can now complete a simple document that will allow patients and up to three of their relatives to have free access to one of the five museums in the City of Brussels.
In this case, the Museum of the City of Brussels, the Museum of Sewers, the Museum of Fashion and Lace and the CENTRAL exhibition center for contemporary art. “We wanted to make the whole variety of Brussels museums accessible,” comments Delphine Houba.
As accessibility to museums is one of the main objectives of the approach, patients benefiting from the prescription will not be accompanied by a healthcare professional. “There is nothing that has been voluntarily programmed not to stigmatize patients and patients. The public comes to visit at their own pace, depending on what interests them ”, adds Denis Laurent, director of the Ville museums,“ it was discussed, co-constructed with the medical staff ”.
It arouses emotion
The free dimension of the operation makes sense, for Dr. Vincent Lustygier, psychiatrist and head of the psychiatric day hospital, “psychiatric patients often also have enormous financial difficulties, so having a museum prescription, being able to go to the museum for free, being able to go there in the family, I think it’s a great opening “.
Recreating family ties is one of the many benefits touted by industry professionals. “We know that this connection with the emotion of a work of art can challenge some patients. We can perhaps metabolize this emotion. We can try to work with it, what did it evoke, why? It touched it, why this museum rather than another” , adds the psychiatrist.
Currently, the museum prescription remains only in the municipal heart of Brussels. The CHU and the museums concerned are public services of the City. However, an evaluation is expected in 6 months and the authorities are not ruling out the possibility of extending the operation.