The positive ways that involvement in the arts can contribute in the area of mental health is being increasingly recognised across Ireland and, indeed, the wider world. A visit to www.artsandhealth.ie; the national website providing resources and current research for the field of arts and health in Ireland highlights the variety of arts activities and associated benefits to health and well being.
2014 was a busy year, in terms of collaboration between mental health providers and the artistic community in West Cork. The Skibbereen Arts Festival in July had a dedicated mental health theme. The Wellness Week in Clonakilty in May featured a significant contribution from the arts community. In the lead up to World Mental Health Day on October 10, a whole week of mostly free events, open to all the community, met with an enthusiastic response in towns around West Cork.
Over the coming year, a wide-ranging programme of arts based initiatives will take place in various locations around West Cork. All of these programmes are open to adults in the community and many are free of charge. Some of these programmes include:
Bantry community choir: Weekly rehearsals on Thursday evenings at The Maritime Hotel. No musical experience necessary
The Friday Club: Weekly meetings at the Town Hall, Skibbereen. This is an informal meeting place, providing complimentary tea/coffee and a wide range of arts and leisure activities
The Happiness Ensemble: Open to musicians of all levels of expertise and experience, facilitated in Clonakilty by Peter Fitzpatrick.
The Open Door music sessions, which take place at the West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen on the first Thursday evening of every month.
‘The North Street Poetry Group: Facilitated by Tess Leak on Thursday mornings at the Working Artists Studios, North Street, Skibbereen. This group will re-commence in February 2015.
Look out also for the Cumasú/Wellness bus, which will continue to partner with local groups around West Cork to provide physical, mental and social well being services for the entire community. For further details about West Cork Arts and Wellness initiatives contact Kevin O’Shanahan at 086 7872481 or visit: