Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival

The 16 Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, led by the Mental Health Foundation, takes place from 4 to 24 May 2022.

SMHAF 2022 will explore the theme of ‘Gather’. This reflects the Mental Health Awareness Week theme of ‘Loneliness’, which coincides with the festival from 9 to 15 May 2022.

SMHAF 2022 will be a hybrid festival, combining live events and online programming to enhance connections and strive toward being accessible for all. Artists, communities, and organisations working in the arts and mental health across Scotland have contributed to developing the programme.

The theme of ‘Gather’ was chosen to recognise that bringing people together has always been vital to our work; we use the arts to connect communities, reduce social isolation, and challenge mental health stigma.

After two years at a distance, we want to explore what it means for people to come together. How does sharing a space influence our mental health and our experience of art? And when we cannot or choose not to come together physically, how else can we gather in a way that is truly inclusive?

As always, SMHAF is an opportunity to gather stories, artworks, performances, thoughts, and conversations scattered across Scotland, creating an important public dialogue on mental health.

SMHAF 2022 is led by the Mental Health Foundation and supported by national partners Creative Scotland, Thrive Edinburgh, Edinburgh Health & Social Care Partnership, See Me Scotland, The Baring Foundation and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, media partner The List, and design partner Ilka.

Explore the Programme 

About the Festival

The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) is an internationally respected annual programme to support the arts, explore how engagement in the arts can help prevent mental ill-health, and challenge preconceived ideas about mental health.

Led by the Mental Health Foundation, with support from partner organisations across Scotland, SMHAF is the biggest festival of its kind in the world, and its ground-breaking model – combining high artistic quality with strong grassroots support, community engagement and social activism – has been imitated across Europe.

The Mental Health Foundation now leads the Green Ribbon Arts Festival (GRAF) in Wales and is a key partner in the Northern Irish Mental Health Arts Festival (NIMHAF), and our pioneering work continues to inspire new programmes elsewhere.

The aims of the festival are to:

  • Explore how the arts can contribute to preventing mental health issues
  • Challenge perceptions of mental ill-health
  • Make connections across communities
  • Develop audiences for the arts in Scotland and beyond
  • Encourage participation in the arts to promote good mental health
  • Provide a platform for people to create and share work about mental health

Find out more about the Scottish mental Health Arts Festival