Wales news
13 May 2021

The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales is delighted to announce a new short series of podcasts that focus on how people have managed their mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic.

The series coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year focuses on the theme of nature. The series will be led by the poet and author Patrick Jones.

Patrick’s first guest on ReConnect is Rebecca Lees, a writer and communications manager who lives near Pontypridd. Rebecca is also an Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion, which is an ambassador role encouraging people to enjoy being in nature safely and responsibly. The first episode of the series is now available.

Today, Rebecca joined the College in Wales in calling that social prescribing could help tackle the mental health consequences of loneliness and isolation caused by COVID-19 by sharing her personal experiences of the benefits of nature.

“I try to spend at least 20 minutes outside every day, usually first thing in the morning before the bustle starts. Getting out sets me up for the day, clears my mind and helps me solve problems.
“In my 20s and 30s I didn’t make enough time to be outdoors and was often burnt-out and exhausted. Following bereavement and some life and health challenges, walking and running are now two of my cornerstones, along with getting lots of sleep and trying not to book too much in. 
“I really enjoyed many aspects of lockdown, such as how loud the birds sounded and how peaceful the streets were! It also gave me a chance to explore new routes close to home and find out about the urban nature on my doorstep.
“It’s easy to be in awe of some of the big physical challenges we see other people doing on social media but, for me, it’s about the small wins and just making an effort to get out a few times a week. Someone recently said to me: ‘Nurture nature and it nurtures you back’ and, I promise, it does!”

Opening up in lockdown

During the early stages of the pandemic, The College issued a podcast series ‘Opening Up in Lockdown’ where poet Patrick Jones and guests explored mental health, the arts and experiences of lockdown.

We are delighted to extend this series, with additional interviews to complement the ReConnect series. 

"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. These interviews are part of a witness statement to Britain in terms of the role the arts can play in our mental health and emotional well-being.”

The next guest is Caffy St Luce. Caffy is a live music promoter, arts curator, activist and advocate of community lead creative projects.