Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

08 Sep 2014

Together For You, as part of its World Mental Health Day activities, is supporting the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.

The 2nd Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts and Film Festival launch on Wednesday 17th September.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nichola Mallon opened the event, which featured song, poetry and music highlighting the impact of the arts on mental health and creativity.  

The Voice of Hope performed a number of celebratory and moving songs and poerty during the launch, which can be read below. 


The Beacon Health and Wellbeing Centre in Armagh has been a real promoter of Health and Recovery through the arts.  They have been working very closely with Sheila Smyth from The Right Key.  One of their service users, a lovely gentleman, shared a personal story in a conversation with Sheila during one of the sessions, and this poem was a result of it. 

Not so long ago I was handed a piece of paper.
I was asked to write on it.
I was asked to make a list of the reasons why life was worth living.
Some time passed.
More time passed.
Much time passed.
I handed my paper back.
It had no words on it.
No reasons.
No list.
No hope.
Blank Page.

I would like to try the exercise again.
I would write some words this time.
Reasons that life was worth living.
Time would pass.
Short time.
For small words.
Few words.
Not a list,
But one word,
Two words,
My song,
Three words,
Voice of Hope
Four words.
My Song of Hope
Six words
I have found my victory song
No Blank Page.

This year’s Festival Director, Jane Reynolds, herself a mental health practitioner at Holywell Hospital, said:

I’m very excited to be presenting the line-up for this year’s five-day festival. It is going to be engaging, entertaining and challenging. It is becoming more and more evident that mental health is an issue that concerns us all, so we would encourage people all across Northern Ireland to come and see what the festival has to offer.

In its first year, NIMHAFF reached over 1500 people and this year’s festival promises to widen its appeal even further – with events from Derry to Dungannon, Newcastle to Newry, with arts on offer from visual arts and photography, poetry and song to psychodrama, music, comedy and film, the festival promises to put transformation on the agenda across NI.

Fresh from their success at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, York-based Six Lips Theatre company brings their ground-breaking theatre/dance fusion show, The House of Tragic She, to QUB while, for the first time, simultaneous film screenings of Take Shelter take place in Fermanagh, Dungannon, Newcastle and Belfast.

With potential collaborations with Dublin’s First Fortnight festival, events in kick-boxing clubs, hospitals, cafes and shopping centres, this festival will be one to watch.

All the information and up-to-date event listings can be found at or contact, Facebook Twitter @nimhaff

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