Two out of three soldiers who have been treated with art therapy say it improved their depression.

The arts can play a powerful role in treating the physical and psychological impact of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Art therapies address effects of TBI, yielding a 66% improvement with depression, 50% improvement with anxiety, and 83% decrease of stress.

85% of military patients who have access to art therapy say it was helpful in their healing.

Art therapies could save the US military billions of dollars in healthcare costs. Evidence-based treatments, e.g., art therapies, for PTS and major depression could save the US as much as $1.7 billion, or more than $1,000 per veteran.

Creative writing helps returning veterans with re-entry to civilian life. Veterans who participated in expressive writing experienced greater reductions in PTSD symptoms, distress, anger, physical complaints, and reintegration difficulty compared with veterans who did not write at all.

Over a year and a half at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland, service members ranked art therapy in the top 5 "most helpful in their recovery" of approximately 40 treatment options.

Graves, G. (2008). Group Art Therapy for Patients with Traumatic Brain Injuries: A Pilot Study. Retrieved 19 February 2018 from…

Americans for the Arts. (2013). Arts, Health, and Well-being Across the Military Continuum: White Paper and Framing a National Plan For Action [Electronic version]. Americans for the Arts/National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military, 23. Retrieved 19 February 2018 from AFTA. Arts, Health and Well-Being across the Military Continuum: White Paper and Framing a National Plan For Action.

National Endowment for the Arts. (n.d.). Creative Forces: NEA Military Health Arts Network. Retrieved 19 February 2018 from

Americans for the Arts, 2013.

Sayer, N., Noorbaloochi, S., Frazier, P., Pennebaker, J., Orazem, R., Schnuff, P., et al. (2015, October 28). Randomized Controlled Trial of Online Expressive Writing to Address Readjustment Difficulties Among U.S. Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans., 28(5): 381–390. Retrieved 19 February 2018 from

Walker, M., Jones, J., Drass, J., & Kaimal, G. (2017, November). Art Therapy for Active Duty Service Members with Traumatic Brain Injury & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. International Journal of Art Therapy. Retrieved 19 February 2018 from


American Alliance for Theatre & Education (AATE)

AATE works to ensure that youth experience theater provided by talented artists and educators. Through its membership of theater artists, teachers, professors, directors, scholars, and playwrights, AATE provides services in 48 U.S. states and 19 countries.

American Alliance of Museums

The American Alliance of Museums' mission is to champion museums and nurture excellence in partnership with our members and allies.

American Folklife Center

The American Folklife Center preserves and presents American folklife through research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibitions, publications, and training.

The Arts & Social Impact Explorer was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

This fact sheet was developed as part
of the Arts + Social Impact Explorer