This year, for the first time, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival will take place during Mental Health Awareness Week. Here at the Mental Health Foundation, we are hosting this annual national campaign from 14-20 May 2018, and, this year, the focus is on stress. Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this. Our new report finds that over the past year, almost three quarters (74%) of people have at some point felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

Engaging in the arts can be a positive way to relieve stress, but it is also important to recognise that, for many people, working in the creative industries can be inherently stressful. The events we are hosting during Mental Health Awareness Week reflect both sides, offering opportunities to get enjoyment from the arts and participate in relaxing workshops, while also exploring the stresses that artists – and the rest of us – face in their work and day to day lives.

Here are ten of our highlights from Mental Health Awareness Week:


Though This Be Madness

How can we nurture our collective sanity? Bouncing on a pilates ball in the Land of Lounge Room, a recovering mum is desperate to soothe her baby. Unable to reach her sister, who wrestles sometimes with a cataract on what Shakespeare calls the mind’s eye, she stitches together a pillow-book of tales told through poetry and performance.

Sat 19 May | 7.30-8.30pm

Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43–45 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1S

£10 / £8 | Book:, 0131 556 9579


5 Ways to Begin

As part of our commitment to fostering new work that explores mental health, we are delighted to present and discuss new works in progress from ten artists over two nights in Glasgow and Edinburgh, giving audiences an opportunity to give their feedback and shape performances that might appear in future festival events.

Sat 19 May | 7-9pm

Flourish House, 23–25 Ashley Street, Glasgow G3 6DR

£5 / £3 | Book:

Sun 20 May | 7.30-9.30pm

Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, Edinburgh EH8 9SU

£7 | Book:


Don’t Panic! It’s Challenge Anneka

Bumbag? Check. Luminescent shell suit? Check. Positive attitude in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges? Hell yeah! Inspired by real life stories, this is a frank, funny and open exploration by award-winning theatre company On the Button of a topic that too often remains taboo: the challenge of overcoming anxiety.

Thu 17 May | 7.30-8.30pm

Paisley Arts Centre, 15 New Street, Paisley PA1 1EZ

£10 / £6 | Book: 0300 300 1210,

Sat 19 May | 7-8pm

The Lemon Tree, 5 West North Street, Aberdeen AB24 5AT

£13.20 | Book:, 01224 641 122


Feel Good in the Woods

Join this feel good woodland photo walk to capture spring beginnings, beautiful blossoms and tree canopies. Try new techniques to explore creativity, the mind and the great outdoors, sharing tea and healthy treats under the trees. You can use our weatherproof cameras but feel free to bring your own equipment. All abilities welcome.

Thu 17 May | 10.30am-1.30pm

Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow G43 1AT

FREE | Book:, 07903 020 937


Mad, Bad or Sad: Adolescent Brain Development and Why Our Marbles Matter

Are you scared the adolescents in your care are either ‘going mad’, ‘being bad’ or ‘feeling sad’ and you have no idea what to do or how to help? Dr Rose Williams will lead a practical and theoretical masterclass on adolescent brain development, followed by a live storytelling event, using Playback Theatre to bring these experiences to life.

Fri 18 May

Scottish Youth Theatre, 105 Brunswick Street, Glasgow G1 1TF

Masterclass: 9.30am-12.30pm

£75 / £50 | Book:

Seminar: 2-4pm

£5 | Book:



A performance exploring memory, identity, family and most importantly of all, the joy of music. Turntable started when musician Michael John McCarthy and his Great Aunt Kathleen connected over a stack of vinyl. Since then the Turntable team have toured her record case around Scotland, inviting listeners of all ages to investigate its contents whilst reflecting on the importance of music in their lives.

Sat 19 May | 7-7.55pm

Eastwood Park Theatre, Rouken Glen Road, Giffnock G46 6UG

£10 | Book:, 0141 577 4956



Mental Health Movie Monthly and the Multicultural Health and Wellbeing Forum begin Mental Health Awareness Week with this free film screening, followed by a facilitated discussion around mental health. Mustang tells the story of five orphaned sisters growing up in rural Turkey, when local gossip triggers a drastic change in their lives.

Mon 14 May | 5-8.30pm

Belmont Filmhouse, 49 Belmont Street, Aberdeen AB10 1JS

FREE | Book: 01224 343 500


Workshop Story Café: New Beginnings

Relax while you listen to a story and poems being read out loud, then join in the discussion. We will listen to work by selected writers from the shelves of Glasgow Women’s Library on the theme of Beginnings. A great chance to chill out, discover some new women authors and enjoy the company.

Tue 15 May | 1-3pm

Kairos, Active Communities, 16 Quarry Street, Johnstone PA5 8DZ

FREE | Book:


Mind to Move

Scottish choreographer Julia James-Griffiths hosts movement workshops for those with experience of mental health issues. No dance experience necessary. Each workshop will end with a short excerpt sharing of The Box, which premiere at Assembly Roxy on Thu 24 May.

Fri 18 May | 10am-12pm

North Edinburgh Arts, 15A Pennywell Road, Edinburgh EH4 4TZ

FREE | Book:


Words are the Message

Be inspired by a series of short readings on the theme Letters to Myself from emerging and established writers, interspersed with uplifting songs from FDAMH’s award-winning Freedom of Mind Choir with artist Kim Edgar. An evening of reflection, hope and encouragement.

Tue 15 May | 7-8.30pm

Falkirk Trinity Church Hall, Manse Place, Falkirk FK1 1JN

£3 / FREE | Book: 01324 671 600,


Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 14-20 May 2018. Click on the banner to find out more and click here to explore all the SMHAF events taking place during the week.