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Going to the Cinema Improves Mental Health of NHS Hospital Patients

12th May 2021

With cinemas about to re-open, research* showed that a visit to an in-hospital MediCinema 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


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.   Our services help to improve emotional, mental, and physical health, reducing feelings of isolation, anxiety, and stress, and increasing patient resilience.


Though MediCinemas 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 this period.   The CW+ MediCinema at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital is now reopen, with the Serennu Children’s Centre in Newport, South Wales starting screenings again on Tuesday 18th May and the MediCinema at Southern General Hospital in Glasgow opening its doors again the following week.


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.


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.

Helga Charters, Associate Director of Children and Young People at the hospital

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

Rosie can be quite anxious in hospital sometimes, but after that MediCinema film screening she was on cloud nine.

Mum, Natasha

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.

Jack, 16 years old