school-of-hard-knocks-finalCharity for adults with disability, mental health and substance rehabilitation gets a positive outcome. The School of Hard Knocks was set up in Queensland in 2014 and provides a range of art-based activities such as choral singing, musical theatre and creative writing.

A team from the University of Queensland conducted a 12-month evaluation of the charity’s activities that identified the positive outcomes achieved, the barriers and difficulties for those who discontinued involvement and a comparison with other forms of treatment. “The findings demonstrated substantial improvements in mental health and satisfaction with life,” team leader, Dr Genevieve Dingle said.  Many of the participants experience marginalisation through not being in paid employment, not being in a personal relationship and suffering a range of health conditions.

“After joining the school they exhibited increased energy, optimism, sense of closeness with others, the ability to think clearly and make good decisions,” she said .Between being tested the first and second time, 44 per cent perceived their mental health to have improved, while 46 per cent perceived their physical health improved, with no participants saying their mental health had become worse.