Cultural Cwtsh for World Mental Health Day

National Poet of Wales, Hanan Issa, is one of around 50 artists to have contributed to a new website aiming to use the arts’ restorative power to support NHS and social care staff this winter. Amid mounting evidence of the positive impact the arts can have on health and wellbeing, ‘Cultural Cwtsh’ was created by the Arts Council of Wales as a thank you from the nation’s art sector to busy NHS and social care staff. Through short, accessible videos available on demand, professional artists from across Wales have brought to life a range of creative activities - including poetry, juggling, beatboxing, dancing and photography - designed to help health and care staff switch off from work, lift their spirits and boost their wellbeing. Health and care workers can practice mindfulness through poetry with National Poet of Wales, Hanan Issa; reduce stress and have fun learning to juggle with Rhian Halford from Rhian Circus Cymru; venture outside to make wreaths, mandalas and garden obelisks with artist, Helen Malia; or creative photography with Suzie Larke.

The Cultural Cwtsh, created by the Arts Council of Wales with funding support from Welsh Government, is part of an ongoing programme of partnership work in the field of Arts and Health that aims to raise awareness of the proven wellbeing benefits of engaging in the arts. It has been designed in consultation with Health Education Improvement Wales (HEIW), Social Care Wales, the Welsh NHS Confederation, the Arts and Health Coordinators within each Health Board as well as focus groups of healthcare workers. Sally Lewis, Programme Manager for Arts, Health and Wellbeing at Arts Council of Wales, said: “The Cultural Cwtsh is a direct response to the significant challenges and pressures healthcare staff continue to face. The Cwtsh aims to use creativity to boost staff wellbeing by providing comfort, fun, distraction, solace, relaxation, stimulation, an outlet for
expression as well as opportunities for people to learn a new skill.”