MHAW 2023: Interview with Melvyn Wyke from Avalon on Art & Culture & benefit on wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from Monday 15th to Sunday 21st May and our theme for 2023 is Art and Mental Health. For the week we'll be looking at how art and culture can have a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing and we begin that with Melvyn Wyke who is a resident at our Avalon Accommodation service.

MHAW 2023: Interview with Melvyn Wyke from Avalon on Art & Culture & benefit on wellbeing

Avalon is a supported living service meaning residents like Melvyn live at the property with support from our staff on site but also with the opportunity to have their own independence in the community. Melvyn has used Together services for a long time and was at a different service before Avalon and is very enthusiastic about many forms of art and culture taking in shows, concerts and books. In the different parts of the interview Melvyn explains the benefit he feels from immersing himself in these artforms and the sense of achievement he gets from them.

To begin the interview Melvyn shared some of his own lived experience around his mental health and explained how he came to be living at Avalon:

In the second part of the interview Melvyn describes how he finds living at Avalon and the ways the supported living model works for him in terms of being involved in the community:

In the third part of our interview with Melvyn he speaks about some of the forms of art and culture he enjoys and the impact they have had on his wellbeing. Melvyn is passionate about his enjoyment of many forms of art whether that is attending shows, appreciating paintings or reading books and he shares some of that with us here:

In part 4 of our interview with Melvyn he explains how he took a course around peer support so he could use his own lived experiences to help other people living at Avalon. He describes the pride he took in that qualification and also how he has helped other residents to gain the benefits of taking in art and culture by supporting them to attend shows with him:

For the final part of our interview with Melvyn, he wanted to share a recital of a poem that means a lot to him by reciting it for us. Below he shares Rudyard Kiplin’s ‘If’:

We want to say a huge thank you to Melvyn for sharing his passion for art and culture with us and to add to that he also provided us with a bit of a list of some of the items he discussed:

  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell“I read Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell from cover to cover when I lived in the Together project at Church Hill in Aldershot. It depicts a dehumanising, totalitarian society and I thought set the scene with the opening words – “It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking 13”.
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller“I’ve also read from beginning to end the novel Catch 22 by Joseph Heller while at Avalon. Joseph Heller said “When I read something saying I’ve not done anything as good as Catch 22 since, I’m tempted to reply “Who has?”.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey“I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest from start to finish while at Avalon and very much enjoyed reading that”.