A series of events, exhibitions and workshops are scheduled to take place across Renfrewshire in support of mental health and wellbeing as part of the annual Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.
The national festival, which is led by the Mental Health Foundation, takes place from 4th – 22nd October 2023 and is one of the world’s leading arts events dedicated to mental health.
This year’s festival focuses on the theme of ‘revolution’ exploring how engagement in the arts can help prevent mental ill health and challenge mental health stigma.
Renfrewshire’s diverse programme covers everything from talks and visual arts to poetry, singing and much more. The activity is delivered by partners and supported by Future Paisley – a cultural regeneration partnership programme which uses the power of arts, heritage and culture to impact social and economic change.
Community Partnerships Manager for Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Roisin Robertson, said: “Mental health is something we all have, and issues around mental wellbeing can affect us in lots of different ways. The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival is the perfect time to highlight the number of ways people can engage with the arts in Renfrewshire and shine a light on the many positive impacts it can have on their health.
“The vast programme of events is designed to cater for everyone no matter their age, background or interest. Being able to access the arts and use them to express our thoughts and feelings can help people manage their emotions and help reduce feelings of anxiety, so I’d encourage everyone to see what activities are taking place during the festival and get involved if they can.”
Cultural Regeneration Lead Officer for Future Paisley, Katie Nicoll, said: “Through Future Paisley’s support of Renfrewshire’s Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival programme we want to show the important role art and creativity can play in improving people’s mental wellbeing.
“Through the impressive range of activities taking place we want to demonstrate the many ways people can benefit from having access to high quality cultural experiences.”
There are over 25 events taking place in Renfrewshire as part of the festival with a number of activities not requiring to be booked in advance.
As part of the festival Renfrewshire’s Community Wellbeing Network will unveil its photography exhibition, at Renfrew Town Hall on Thursday 5th October, where the work of local organisations that support positive mental health outcomes will be presented.
The exhibition showcases the work of five organisations from across Renfrewshire, focusing on individuals who are striving to make an impact in their community. The exhibition will then tour other community venues across Renfrewshire as part of the festival.
Popular music venue The Bungalow will be hosting ‘An Afternoon to make you well happy’ on Friday 6th October from 1pm – 3pm. People will be able to enjoy an afternoon of performance, fun and games with the Well Happy Band, as well as learn techniques to reduce anxiety, increase energy and boost everyone’s mood. There will also be a spoken word performance from Tannahill Makar Shaun Moore.
The Access All Ages music event hosted by Brick Lane Music Academy, is an intergenerational music event for all ages – from families with young children to older people. The afternoon will feature an interactive music session, led by one of the Brick Lane tutors, with an opportunity for everyone to try percussion instruments, drums and singing games.
The afternoon will end with a ceilidh, led by Gary Blair, an internationally renowned accordionist, teacher and solo artist. Access All Ages will take place on Sunday 8th October at The Bungalow from 1.30-4pm.
To mark the final day of the festival The Bungalow are hosting a Mental Health Rocks event where bands and DJs will celebrate the positive impact that music and creativity can have on people’s mental health and wellbeing. Four bands will be performing in a range of genres, while DJs will play ‘songs that make you happy’ submitted by people in advance of the event and on the day. The event will take place on Sunday 22nd October from 1-6pm.
Headline photo Credit: RAMH