Renowned poet, author and playwright Patrick Jones has undertaken a residency at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales.
The residency will see Jones work with the college on a series of commissioned works to promote the impact of art on well-being and mental health to the public and Welsh public services alike.
On announcement of the residency Patrick Jones said:
"I believe the Arts can help develop self-confidence and self-esteem, positively affect the culture of hospitals and care units, improve staff and patient relationships and morale, improve social skills and give participants a chance to learn new skills. As Voltaire said many years ago, ‘Something to do - something to love - something to hope for."
Jones from Blackwood, has a rich history of involvement with arts and health projects, having most recently worked with The Forget Me Not Chorus (whose members are individuals living with Dementia) on the My Song My Story project. This work documented poems of members’ most precious songs and the stories behind them.
"Seeing people whose lives have been blighted by dementia ‘light up’ as they sing the songs of yesteryear is one of the most moving and life-affirming moments of my life. I wrote a play “Before I Leave”, produced by National Theatre Wales, about which is being adapted into a film. It is a story that needs to be told."
Jones’ first undertaking in his residency furthers work into Dementia, creating a series of spoken word features focussing on peoples lived experiences through cycles of song. The work will also highlight how Mental Health with emphasis on Dementia Care has developed since 1948.
"This is where the Arts are paramount and a latent tool waiting to be used in the treatment of those living with Dementia. This project is a start upon the journey and hopefully will resonate throughout Mental Health networks."
Professor Keith Lloyd, Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales said:
"I’m really delighted to welcome Patrick to the College, this work is both exciting and invaluable.
No one is immune to experiencing mental ill health, how we manage our mental health is so important and the Arts have a part to play in promoting positive mental well-being."
On commencement of the residency Patrick Jones said:
"It’s fantastic to be able to transfer what I know and what I’ve learnt in creating this new program, and to those whom I’ve met over the years and been fortunate enough to collaborate with, get in touch, it’s a fantastic opportunity to be involved in such a positive programme."