Pop Idol winner helps launch mental health festival

At the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival launch are: (l-r) North Lanarkshire councillor Barry McCulloch; Lynne Cruickshank, senior officer North Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership; Michelle McManus, Edward Reid. Kevin ONeil, Susan McMorrin.

At the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival launch are: (l-r) North Lanarkshire councillor Barry McCulloch; Lynne Cruickshank, senior officer North Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership; Michelle McManus, Edward Reid. Kevin ONeil, Susan McMorrin.

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Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus launched the 2016 Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF) in Motherwell.

She was joined at a sell-out event in the Colville Park Country Club by Britain’s Got Talent star Edward Reid.

This is the 10th year of the annual festival which has grown over the decade to become a major event in Scotland’s arts calendar.

The festival runs until October 31 and among the events taking place in Lanarkshire are: a comedy weekender in Motherwell and Airdrie; wellbeing and happiness workshops with Edward Reid in East Kilbride, Rutherglen and Hamilton; Asian cultural event in Bellshill; and an animation workshop in Coatbridge.

The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Time’ recognising that time is the most precious gift we can give or receive and we should all take some time for our mental health.

Organiser of the event in Lanarkshire, NHS Lanarkshire senior health promotion officer, Susan McMorrin said: “There are 23 events running in Lanarkshire during the festival which includes comedy, exhibitions, drama, workshops and an awful lot more.

“The event has grown immeasurably over the years and it is now one of the world’s largest social justice festivals with annual attendances in excess of 25,000.”

The SMHAFF aims to support the arts and challenge preconceived ideas about mental health.

It also sets out to remind everyone that mental health is important to all of us and that we must all value and look after ours and others’ mental health.

Kevin O’Neil, Lanarkshire public mental health and well-being development manager, said: “Despite the fact that most people will have some personal experience of mental ill health, stigma and discrimination are still unfortunately common place.

“The SMHAFF provides a platform to challenge, engage and explore the issues and themes around mental health and promote positive attitudes towards mental health and mental illness.

“It also highlights that being involved, creative, connected and learning new things are important to good mental health.”

Details of all events in Lanarkshire are on pages 42-44 of the brochure