Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival
The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) is an internationally respected annual programme to support the arts and challenge preconceived ideas about mental health. Launched in 2007, SMHAF now features over 300 annual events and reaches audiences of 25,000 each May in regions across Scotland.
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 groundbreaking model – combining high artistic quality with strong grassroots support, community engagement and social activism – has been imitated all across Europe.
The aims of the festival are to:
· Use the arts as a platform to challenge negative perceptions and tackle the stigma associated with mental health.
· Engage with artists, activists and organisations across Scotland.
· Develop audiences for the arts and mental health in Scotland and beyond.
· Encourage participation in the arts by those with lived experience of mental ill health, particularly in marginalised communities.
· Create great art.
SMHAF has developed into a year-round programme, which includes the annual exhibition Out Of Sight Out Of Mind, the Mental Health Fringe Award at the Edinburgh Fringe, and a range of events aimed at growing the conversation around mental health and the arts in Scotland.