Today is World Mental Health Day so we’re shining a light on some fantastic initiatives that combine creative activity with personal and collective wellbeing.
Marked every year on 10 October, World Mental Health Day raises awareness of mental health issues around the world.
With national wellbeing at the heart of the Creative Ireland Programme, we welcome the opportunity to support initiatives in which creativity and wellbeing can combine for everyone’s benefit.
One such initiative is the work of First Fortnight, a dynamic charity that challenges mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action. In the first fortnight of January each year, the organisation boosts mental health awareness, confronts prejudice and works towards ending stigma via inspirational arts events and experiences that encourage us all to talk about mental health more freely.
This January, First Fortnight will host Europe’s Mental Health Arts Festival 2019 in Dublin. Earlier this summer, artists with an interest in the prejudice, discrimination and stigma connected to mental health were invited to apply to showcase their work at the festival.
Another compelling initiative is the ‘Sound Schools Toolkit’, a new creative mental health programme for children. Developed by The Irish Youth Foundation, which supports vulnerable children and young people living in disadvantaged circumstances, and A Lust For Life, an organisation driving social change regarding mental wellbeing; it features an online platform called Youthfl!x (based on the Netflix model), which hosts age-relevant health and wellbeing content and channels.
At Usher’s Island Clinic in Dublin City, a day centre within the National Forensic Mental Health Service, a pilot series of artist residencies will bring art and collaboration to its visitors. The clinic is used by current and former patients of the Central Mental Hospital and will see three artists take on separate four-month residencies there, with the aim of creating work in a collaborative and socially-engaging way.
In Galway, The Lullaby Project will partner professional musicians with parents, carers, and early years practitioners to compose unique, personalised songs for young children. A pilot of Galway Childcare Committee and Groundswell Arts, this musical initiative supports mental health in children and adults, aids child development and strengthens the bonds and relationships of all involved.
These are just four of the innovative initiatives included in the new National Creativity Fund, read what else is promoting our collective wellbeing and creativity here.