Can Art Relax You? Stressed Millennials Use Galleries to Unwind, Research Shows

With young people twice as likely to visit art institutions to de-stress, charity extends National Art Pass to include Britons up to 30

Tate Britain, 2010. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Oli Scarff

Tate Britain, 2010. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Oli Scarff

Young people in Britain are using museums and galleries to ‘de-stress’, new research commissioned by the British charity Art Fund has found.

While 6% of the general UK population regularly visit art collections, people under 30 are twice as likely (13%) to visit a museum or gallery each month, specifically to combat anxiety caused by the pressures of modern life.

In response to the research, Art Fund has extended their popular National Art Pass, previously available to people under 26, to include those aged up to 30. The National Art Pass gives free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic settings, as well as 50% off many major art institutions.

‘We hope that by offering an expanded pass we will be able to lessen the cost and encourage more museum and gallery visits by this age group,’ a spokesperson for the Art Fund said.

The Charity’s report, Calm and Collected, also found that 63% of people surveyed said that they visited a gallery at some point specifically to ‘de-stress’, revealing ‘potential for visiting museums and galleries to play a bigger role in helping us cope with stress and anxiety’.

The report also exposed a worrying trend in anxiety levels across the population, with young people, women and Londoners suffering most acutely. 49% of people aged 25-34 said they felt anxious at least some of the time, with figures decreasing as age increased. Anxiety was also split along gender lines: 45% of women experienced symptoms in comparison to 34% of men. While the national average was found to be 40%, 45% of Londoners reported symptoms caused by stress.

Leading sources of anxiety included debt and finances (42%) and feeling lonely and issues around social media (32%).

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