The positive influence of the arts on wellbeing has long been recognised - with active participation in creative endeavours serving to enhance the health of individuals and communities.
This is the driving idea behind the Australian Arts and Health Foundation (AAHF) - a nonprofit organisation that aims to promote the link in policymaking decisions.
In particular, the organisation is seeking to integrate artistic practices in healthcare settings in order to enhance the experience of patients, carers and practitioners.
The latest of these projects has been the development of an initiative called Arts and Health Stories.
Making use of the PlacesStories platform - a map-based storytelling program developed by Australian cultural development enterprise Feral Arts - the program aims to allow artists and healthcare professionals across Australia to share their tales online.
Practitioners, patients and creators are encouraged to join the digital community - with the backing of partner Regional Arts Australia and the Rural Health Alliance helping to bring some serious attention to the subject.
The Arts and Health Stories initiative has received the endorsement of eminent research professor Ian Hickie of the Brain and Mind Institute at Sydney University.
Acting as an ambassador for the AAHF, the professor explained that the program was "for anybody" involved in creative works or the health industry - either as a producer or consumer.
He also explained that the digital campaign would help to collect first-hand accounts of how artistic projects had benefited community health for presentations at the National Health and Arts Forum.
Professor Hickie asserted: "This is an important project and it needs to be done now to take advantage of this one-off opportunity for the arts and health community to put the national case for the integration of the arts with the national health policy."
According to the foundation's website, the the forum "will bring together leading artists, health professionals and policy writers" in order to demonstrate real-life cases where artistic projects have produced lasting results.
Individuals involved in providing care, patients who have benefited from artistic pursuits and even artists who are involved in producing works for healthcare are invited to join the initiative online - with a dedicated portal that can make use of social media channels to provide the necessary details.
After completing the sign-in process, applicants can begin uploading their stories and sharing them directly with other like-minded individuals.