Artist News

Yard Act frontman partners with Mind on mental health awareness project

By | Published on Thursday 12 May 2022

Yard Act

Yard Act’s James Smith has shared a poem, commissioned by mental health charity Mind to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week this week. The short piece was created in collaboration with a woman named Mel, who lives with bulimia, in order to tell her story.

“I was asked by Mind to collaborate with one of their clients to write a poem for Mental Health Awareness week”, he says. “I’ve worked with Mind in the past here in Leeds fundraising so I was honoured they’d considered me. Mind partnered me with a young woman called Mel, who lives with an eating disorder – more specifically bulimia – and when we first met on Zoom, I instantly clicked with her”.

“Myself and Mel talked for an hour or so about her life and the condition she lives with”, he goes on. “We shared similar views on a lot of things and I found her to be an incredibly grounded, intelligent and astute young person, who genuinely gave me hope for the future”.

“I took great care when writing this to do justice to Mel’s story. She had a great ‘no holds barred’ approach to talking about bulimia and what she has to go through each day living with her eating disorder. Her belief, in her own words was ‘if you’re going to talk about it, talk about it’”.

He added that the version he performs in a new video differs from the original text, saying that he and Mel were asked “to alter several lines deemed too triggering by Mind to be broadcast publicly”.

“Whilst myself and Mel were disappointed by the last minute tweaks, I completely understand the complexity and sensitivity around the subject and respect that decision had to be made”, he explains, adding that the full original text is available in the description of the video on YouTube.

“When I agreed to do this, I didn’t realise I would be performing the poem to camera on a set with a full film crew”, he says. “I misread and thought the filming would be more a fly on the wall doc of us meeting and writing the poem”.

“Regardless, I powdered up and had some gloss put on my very dry lips. I’m used to playing the fool, so this took a little bit of effort. Seriousness scares me, but here it is. Also, Mel was meant to be in the video with me, but she got bloody COVID when she arrived on set and had to be quarantined”.

Watch the video for ‘Mel’s Story’ here: