The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) is one of Scotland's most diverse cultural events, including everything from music, film and theatre, to storytelling, sketching and origami.
In 2021, the festival takes place from 3-23 May - online and in outdoor locations across Scotland - exploring the theme of
'Normality?' a particularly pertinent topic in the midst of the COVID_19 pandemic, which has upturned normality for most people. The festival dates incorporate Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May) which this year has the theme of 'Nature' and is encouraging people to experience nature, share nature and talk about nature. During lockdown, many people have discovered just how vital access to nature is for mental well-being.
Many of the events in the SMHAF this year explore how nature can inspire creativity and also support good mental health. Workshops range from film screenings to origami workshops, from mandala making to nature walks. You can browse all the festival events here. Some events are restricted to participants within a certain geographical area, others are open to anyone living in Scotland.
I'm delighted to be involved in this year's festival, facilitating three creative writing workshops celebrating local green-spaces in three different outdoor locations in the north east of Edinburgh. Participation is limited to local residents, but you can find out more about these workshops and the art workshops that will run alongside them here.