Image shown: Launch of NIMHAFF

The third Northern Ireland Mental Health Film and Arts Festival is being held in May. In its first three years, the Northern Ireland Mental Health Film and Arts Festival has reached over 7,000 people and this year’s festival promises to widen its appeal even further. The festival will run 9 – 15 May 2016 throughout Northern Ireland at 19 separate venues. Events will be held 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. 

Jane Reynolds, Festival Director said: “This is the third year of the Northern Ireland Mental Health Film and Arts Festival. From over 100 submissions from artists and community groups from throughout Northern Ireland we have created a very exciting programme.

Highlights include a travelling showcase of short films with a variety of themes under the umbrella of mental illness which will show in venues throughout all six counties of Northern Ireland, Colour of Poetry exhibition and Tanka poetry reading in Coleraine, films written and produced by mental health service users facilitated by the Educational Shakespeare Company, a Poetry Therapy workshop and ‘Unseen Stitches:Understanding Maternal Mental Health through Textiles’ , a curated exhibition.”

The line-up for this year’s festival has something for everyone to enjoy. Hosting such a fun-filled and enjoyable festival is a great way of challenging the many issues associated with mental health.

The festival was launched at Stormont recently and the theme for 2016 is Tackling Stigma One Conversation at a Time.

The participants at the Stormont launch held flags and banners with designs by service users from Holywell Hospital and Praxis Care Portadown, facilitated by local artist Ciara O’Malley and the Art and Soul Foundation. Everyone signed up to a pledge to tackle stigma of mental health by continuing the conversations in their workplace, community and family settings.

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