Arts and health partners in a post-Covid world – Arts Professional article

Delivering arts and health services digitally can extend access for some, but others are excluded. Nesta Lloyd-Jones looks at the positive outcomes and future challenges brought about by the lockdown.

 

Written by Nesta Lloyd-Jones, Assistant Director of the Welsh NHS Confederation which represents all NHS organisations in Wales. This article was originally published by in Arts Professional on  30/06/20.

Even for the most resilient people in our societies, the sudden shift in our daily activities and social interactions brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic has been frightening and has put immense strain on our mental health and wellbeing.

For those who are vulnerable, this period of lockdown can have an even more profound effect. In Wales, we knew before the pandemic that one-third of people reported feeling lonely or isolated. The reality of the lockdown means this figure is now likely to be much higher.

Reports suggest that loneliness and social isolation can be as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. While the restrictions we’ve had to put in place are necessary in order to protect lives and the NHS, the issues which had an impact on our health before the virus have not gone away, and in many cases have been exacerbated.

That’s why Wales has continued to lead the way in providing and developing arts and health initiatives. Artists and the NHS have been collaborating to deliver programmes which have helped keep our most vulnerable active and supported their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

This momentum could have easily been lost as restrictions were imposed. But rather than accept and pause the progress we had been making, the way we deliver these services has been changing to comply with social distancing.

We are now looking towards a bold new future for how we can increase access to arts and health initiatives in a post-coronavirus world, using digital technology and empowering staff within health and care settings to take forward and embed creativity when supporting people in their care.

Read the whole article via Arts Professional 

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