During lockdown, RCPsych Wales has been collaborating with poet Patrick Jones on a series of podcasts entitled ‘Opening Up in Lockdown’.
Through a series of interviews, Patrick and various artists explore the link between the arts and mental health, looking at how they can support us during these difficult times.
Speaking about the project, Patrick Jones said:
“We need a new vision, a new pathway into healing and managing illness and making lives more meaningful and dignified. These last four months has shown us that we need a more holistic approach to mental health.
“I had an idea of these Opening Up in Lockdown Sessions to share ideas and coping strategies of artists whose work I admired and dealt with mental health and personal struggles and triumphs.
“I read time and again of such tragic stories of people taking their own lives because of what we are living through, of people breaking down in supermarkets because of the stress. Even though we were isolated, it was important to communicate and open-up and possibly understand that we are not alone in our struggles and suffering and that, possibly by creating art, we may transcend them.
“These interviews are part of a witness statement to Britain 2020 in terms of the role the arts can play in our mental health and emotional well-being.”
The podcasts, of which two are released on a weekly basis, feature film makers, musicians, poets, and theatre makers, providing many interesting and varied views. Psychiatrists Professor Keith Lloyd and Professor Ann John will also be weighing in to provide a clinical perspective.
Professor Keith Lloyd, consultant psychiatrist, added:
“Covid-19 has been difficult for everyone to deal with and we expect to see more people seeking help for mental health problems in the future because of it.
“However, taking an interest or getting involved in the arts can build up resilience, make people feel more engaged and brings enormous benefits for people socially as well as boosting confidence.
“It could be an important part in getting some normality back to people’s lives and the importance of arts and culture must not be left behind.
“That is why we’re calling on the Welsh Parliament to look into our recommendations. Everyone’s lives have been turned upside down and our artistic community can help people come to terms with that through engaging in art and culture.”
To view the podcasts please visit our Opening Up in Lockdown YouTube channel.