A band made up of Scottish Association for Mental Health support staff will open this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival at the Alona Hotel today (Wednesday).
The event showcases the musical and creative talent of those supporting mental health causes in Scotland.
‘Striking Off the Chains’ is a six-piece rock band led by peer support worker Mark Docherty (52) who works alongside his fellow bandmates at SAMH’s Experience Counts service in North Lanarkshire.
Mark was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 2000 after contracting shingles, causing severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.
While learning to cope with mental health problems Mark was encouraged to take up hobbies to focus his mind on something that wouldn’t fuel his anxiety and depression and decided to learn the guitar he had been given as a gift for his 16th birthday.
Mark said: “I am thrilled that we have been invited back to the SMHAFF for a second year. It’s great to know that what we are doing resonates with people and they want more.
“Writing songs is a way for me to put my feelings down on paper and express them creatively. Although not all of the songs we write are to do with mental health, they have some very powerful messages which we hope people can take away and benefit from.
“I would recommend that people find something, whether it’s a sport or hobby, as it can give you a sense of accomplishment, build your confidence and act as an outlet whenever you need to get away from your problems for a while.”
The programme of events for this year’s festival can be found here