The Mental Health Arts Network is a new initiative led by the Mental Health Foundation in partnership with See Me Scotland, to develop a peer to peer support network for people working in the arts and mental health. The Mental Health Arts Network is supported by the Baring Foundation. 

Online Discussions

In 2022, we hosted three online discussion events providing fresh perspectives on challenging subjects. You can listen to recordings of these here:

How do we talk about suicide? 

Art can be a powerful way of addressing the difficult subject of suicide, but how can it be done without sensationalising, stigmatising or triggering?

We discuss this sensitive subject with:

  • Mariem Omari, artistic director of Bijli Productions and creator of the theatre show One Mississippi
  • Rory O’Connor, Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Glasgow and author of the book When It Is Darkest, which explores why people take their own lives
  • Bex Singleton, a film-maker whose short documentary I’ll Love You Till The End sensitively examines the experience of people bereaved when someone they love takes their own life
  • Michael Duke, a playwright and theatre director who is developing a new project about the difficulty of understanding, through notes left behind, the worlds experienced by people who have died by suicide.

Hosted by Andrew Eaton-Lewis, arts programme officer for the Mental Health Foundation.

If you have been bereaved or affected by suicide, you can contact Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide. Email or call the helpline, open 9am to 9pm Monday to Sunday, on 0300 111 5065.

Breathing Space is a free, confidential phone service, available to anyone in Scotland, providing listening, advice and information about mental health. You can speak to a Breathing Space advisor on 0800 83 85 87.

How do we safeguard our mental health while making art about mental health?

The past few years have seen a huge increase in the number of artistic projects, from theatre and film to comedy, that explicitly address mental health. Often these projects involve the artists sharing their own traumatic experiences.

We discuss the challenges involved in this with:

  • Tamsin Griffiths and Paul Whittaker, cross-disciplinary artists with a mental health diagnosis, who create participatory interactive projects that blur the boundaries of art-forms and challenge perceptions about mental health
  • Juliette Burton, a comedian with a history of mental health conditions, who has talked openly about her own mental health experiences in her shows
  • Rebecca Day, psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and founder of Film in Mind, which advocates for better mental health in the film industry and provides bespoke therapeutic services for the filmmaking community
  • Vikki Doig who as learning and engagement manager for Youth Theatre Arts Scotland mentored young people, programmed mental health workshops and worked to support a culture of care across the youth theatre sector.

Hosted by Andrew Eaton-Lewis, arts programme officer for the Mental Health Foundation.

Why don’t Black and people of colour talk about mental health?


In this conversation hosted by We Are Here Scotland founder Ica Headlam, a panel of Black and people of colour creatives discuss why mental health isn’t talked about more within their communities and why creativity has helped them express their feelings more.

  • Gin Lalli is a solution focused psychotherapist based in Edinburgh. Gin helps people to regain control of their lives by explaining the science behind how the brain functions and by employing the latest evidence-based techniques of positive psychology and neuroscience. Most importantly she is an advocate of solution focused work; a form of psychotherapy that does not require deep analysis of past problems and issues, but focuses on moving forward with mental fitness. Gin is host of the podcast Stress Bucket Solutions and author of the book How to Empty Your Stress Bucket.
  • Esraa Husain (they/she/he) is a PhD researcher, freelance writer, facilitator and community curator based in Scotland. They run U Belong Glasgow.
  • Jubemi Iyiku, also known as Bemz, is a Nigerian-born Ayrshire artist who has broken into the forefront of Scotland’s rap scene over the last few years. He has played sold out shows, started a merchandise brand called M4 and most recently became the inaugural winner of the BBC Introducing’s Scottish Artist of the Year Award and also has been awarded a Power Up funding grant by the PRS Foundation based on his excelling career. Jubemi is Community Engagement Officer for We Are Here Scotland.
  • Samah Naseem is Pakistani British. She has worked in the Violence Against Women sector for almost 3 years now and previously worked in mental health. She also has a blog Ramblings of a Brown Girl – Medium.
  • Ica Headlam has independently produced and hosted the Creative Me Podcast since 2017, a weekly show that explores creativity and arts in the North East of Scotland, with the aim of drawing a wider focus on Aberdeen’s creative community. To date, it has been commissioned for the Look Again Festival, Northlands Creative, and City Moves festival dance live. Ica is founder of We Are Here Scotland and also a qualified social worker who works with vulnerable young adults across Aberdeen.