A Sense of Belonging Art Programme works in partnership with artists and organisations across the city to promote participation in the arts. By engaging with artists, connecting with communities, and encouraging collaborations we celebrate the artistic achievements of people with experience of mental health issues, exploring the relationship between creativity and the mind, promoting positive mental health and wellbeing with an overarching aim to build resilience in our communities. We endeavour to promote the use of new spaces year on year and encourage people to think about using their spaces differently. Annually the programme is able to support artists and events to participate through a small grants fund to get involved with arts activities across Edinburgh and the Lothian’s as part of Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF).
The rationale for our involvement is simple. We want to give people with lived experience the opportunity to explore, create, and find hope and recovery through the arts by:
Empowering people with lived experience of mental health problems to create art and share their responses
Use art as the medium to challenge stigma about mental health issues
Create spaces for people to come and connect to their communities and share and open up conversations about mental health
Reduce social isolation and act as an enabler to wellbeing in our community
The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) is now in its 14th year and is renowned as one of Scotland's most diverse cultural events, covering everything from music, film and visual art to theatre, dance, and literature.Led by the Mental Health Foundation, the aims of the festival are to:
SMHAF 2020 was due to run from Monday 4th May 2020 to Sunday 24th May 2020 but unfortunately due to the current COVID-19 pandemic this has been cancelled.
In partnership with the national SMHAF team we are exploring alternatives to the traditional SMHAF programme and looking at ways that we can continue to connect our community. The national team are in the process of developing an online programme aimed at supporting our creative communities, regional networks and dedicated audiences, and creating opportunities for engagement and conversation.
In the mean time the Thrive team have produced an “Art from our sofa” briefing which will give you ideas to stay connected and get involved in the arts. You can download it below.
For the last 3 years the GameChanger Choose Life football tournament has been hosted at Hibernian Training Centre in East Lothian. It sees up to 20 seven-a-side teams from throughout Scotland participate in a tournament aimed at promoting suicide prevention and positive mental health, with charities engaged in the sector in attendance. The tournament winners take part in a half-time penalty shoot-out at a home match at Easter Road, which approximately coincides with World Mental Health Day, and which sees a big focus on mental health activity for the day. To read more about the work that GameChanger undertake follow this link: www.gamechangerpsp.co.uk