John hopes his song will encourage more people to talk about depression and address the stigma that often surrounds mental health, despite the issues becoming more prevalent as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. His lyrics, which he co-wrote with his fellow ‘Songs from the Nest’ attendees, articulate hope and positivity by focusing on the little things in life: the things that make you feel alive.
‘Songs from the Nest’, so-called because they meet at Bryngarw’s new education and wellbeing centre Y Nyth (Welsh for nest) involves representatives from local community groups such as Lads and Dads, Pontycymmer Men’s Shed, Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations, Impetus Dance, Mental Health Matters and systemic psychotherapist Dr Leah Salter engaging in honest and frank conversations.
The project, which was commissioned by Bridgend County Borough Council in partnership with Awen Cultural Trust, aims to connect organisations who are committed to raising awareness of mental health issues and the resources available to those who need them. It is part of the wider Stronger Together Bridgend project, which uses digital storytelling to share people’s life experiences in a safe and inclusive way.
Andre van Wyk, Creative Wellbeing Officer at Awen Cultural Trust, said:
“Music is a powerful art form which connects people, and helps us to express feelings which we may be too scared or embarrassed to share otherwise. The song ‘Alive’ has become a kind of ‘anthem’ for the Songs for the Nest collaborators, representing all that can be achieved if organisations work together to address important mental health issues collectively. I look forward to seeing John perform at the Between the Trees Festival, where we will also be hosting a public discussion on what makes you feel ‘alive’.”
Richard Hughes, Chief Executive of Awen Cultural Trust, added:
“Finding collaborative and creative ways of raising awareness of mental health matters is vital as we continue to emerge from the pandemic. Hopefully the ‘Alive’ song lyrics will resonate with listeners and encourage them to speak up about their feelings, understand they are not alone, and access the many resources available for support.”
Councillor Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Future Generations and Wellbeing, said: “It’s really pleasing that our partnership with Awen is helping to raise awareness about important matters such as mental health.
“The fact that this song and performance has such a strong Bridgend County Borough angle helps to make this event even more relatable to the local community. It’s crucial that events like this are in place to show people the importance of getting help and talking to others if their struggling with their mental health.”
Photo from Between The Trees – visit Between the Trees Festival, Merthyr Mawr Nature Reserve, South Wales – Between The Trees for information and tickets.