HYWEL Dda University Health Board has appointed two Arts in Health Co-ordinators who will help promote and encourage the use of the arts in healthcare across the three counties.

Kathryn Lambert and Dr Catherine Jenkins will develop and deliver programmes to capitalise on the powerful contribution the arts can make in supporting people’s health and wellbeing.

Arts in health includes any art project, intervention or commission where the intention is to improve health and well-being through arts engagement, such as working with an artist or musician. It is based on the growing body of evidence that demonstrates the impact the arts can have on the health and well-being of an individual or community. 

Initially, the Hywel Dda Arts in Health Team will be working with the health board’s Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to run Art Boost,  a one-year pilot arts in mental health programme for children and young people living with eating disorders, self-harming behaviours, low mood and/or suicidal feelings. This project will help children and young people to build the skills and resilience to broaden their ability for coping with negative experiences, reduce psychological distress and gain an increased sense of empowerment by working with artists. 

The posts are part funded by The Arts Council of Wales.

Kathryn brings over 20 years’ experience of working in the arts sector, most recently as Director of Span Arts in Pembrokeshire, while Dr Cath is a practicing GP with an interest in holistic and lifestyle interventions for health and well-being.

Kathryn said: “I am extremely excited to be in post as the new Arts and Health Co-ordinator and working closely with Dr Cath Jenkins. This is an exciting new venture for Hywel Dda UHB, and we hope to make a real difference by working right across the health board to promote the arts as a tool for improving health and wellbeing.”

The posts are part funded by The Arts Council of Wales, and the pair will be working within the health board’s Patient Experience Team.

Louise O’Connor, Assistant Director of Legal Services and Patient Experience, said: “Although we are at the start of our arts in health journey, the health board acknowledges the many wide-ranging benefits that the arts can offer our healthcare systems. We wish to develop our future arts provision to be safe, sustainable, innovative and effective, based on evidenced meaningful activity and we are committed to offering high quality arts and health activities and interventions.”