Going to the Cinema Improves Mental Health of NHS Hospital Patients

9 out of 10 people reported that going to an in-hospital cinema reduced stress and anxiety levels

(May 12, 2021) – With cinemas about to re-open, research* undertaken by the charity MediCinema shows that a visit to one of its in hospital cinemas has a significant positive effect on the mental health of those going to see a film. The effect of the shared experience of film improves feeling of wellbeing, reduces isolation, and gives people a sense of normality:

  • 93% said a visit to the MediCinema reduced isolation
  • 92% said a visit to the MediCinema reduced anxiety and stress
  • 92% said a visit to the MediCinema improves wellbeing
  • 96% gives people in hospital a sense of normality
  • 82% said a visit to the MediCinema helped them connect with others
  • MediCinema is a charity which improves the wellbeing and quality of life of NHS patients and their families through the power of the shared cinema experience and the magic of film. It builds and runs cinemas in hospitals equipped with space for beds, wheelchairs, and medical equipment. Its services help to improve emotional, mental, and physical health, reducing feelings of isolation, anxiety, and stress, and increasing patient resilience.

    While people across the country are looking forward to being able to visit their local cinemas after such a long time, the charity MediCinema continues to reopen and run its cinemas for hospital patients. While its cinemas were suspended in March 2020 just before public cinemas, some have been running socially-distanced screenings again from August 2020 and throughout this last lockdown – the only cinemas to be operating throughout.

    At the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle, the MediCinema continued to run screenings throughout the serious Winter wave of COVID-19 and the third lockdown.

    Helga Charters, Associate Director of Children and Young People at the hospital said, “Having the MediCinema open for screenings at the RVI has been a really important part of care and therapeutic wellbeing for our patients.  I can see the immediate beneficial effect it has on our patients’ mental health having had the opportunity to leave the ward, immerse themselves in a film, meet other people and be stimulated by something other than the hospital environment.

    “During COVID it has been even more important in light of strict visitor restrictions and the increased anxiety and isolation this can have. I’ve seen the smiles and lift in moods visiting the MediCinema has had on patients and that stays with them when they go back to the wards.”

    Kat Mason, MediCinema Chief Executive said: “Over this past year we have all felt the isolating effects of staying at home and not seeing friends and family. We are all raring to get back to the cinema and to share a movie on the big screen with our loved ones, and this is no different whether you are in hospital or reconnecting as lockdown relaxes. Many patients who visit our cinemas to watch a film are clear about its effect on their mental health and wellbeing, having to spend so much time isolated on the wards, especially over the past year. The power of cinema – sharing a film in the company of others – is very real.”

    *This research was carried out from Summer 2017-Winter 2019, across five MediCinema sites with 1229 people

    Patient quotes:

  • Mum Natasha: “Rosie can be quite anxious in hospital sometimes, but after that MediCinema film screening she was on cloud nine.”
  • Jack, 16 years old: “I want to say thank you to MediCinema for giving us both the opportunity to look forward to something. The whole experience has made me realise how important a patient’s mental wellbeing is when they are in hospital – and MediCinema was a good focus for the day. Without it, every day of my stay would have been pretty much the same. It made a huge difference to my hospital experience and really cheered both me and my Mum up.”
  • About MediCinema
    MediCinema is a UK registered charity that builds and runs state-of-the-art cinemas in NHS hospitals, accommodating hospital beds, wheelchairs and equipment. It works to progress patient resilience and recovery and improve wellbeing through the power of film and the shared cinema experience. During their stays in hospital, patients, families and carers can see the latest releases as well as silver-screen classics for free and get a much-needed break from the wards.

    Since MediCinema was founded in 1999 it has given nearly 200,000 cinema experiences to patients, their families, carers and those closest to them.

    MediCinema operates cinemas in the following: Guy’s, St Thomas’ and Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals in London, Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow and Serennu Children’s Centre in Newport, South Wales.

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