‘Any form of Art is a form of Power; it has an impact, it can affect change- it can not only move us, it makes us move’ Ossie Davis (Activist, actor, director playwright (1917 – 2005))

This was the overarching theme throughout SMHAFF2014 and over the course of the festival we witnessed it in action as hundreds of activists, artists, arts venues, volunteers throughout Scotland put on a provocative programme of events, opening up a conversation about mental health.

As the dust begins to settle and the SMHAFF HQ gets a little quieter we would like to thank everyone who made this year’s festival a rip roaring success! Thank you to the journalists, bloggers and reviewers for spreading the word about the festival, thank you for everyone who gave up a bit of their time/energy to the cause and thank you to all of you reading this now for supporting us throughout the year and making the festival one of the largest social justice festivals in the world!

And what a festival it has been with over 300 literature, music, film and art events taking across the length and breadth of the country, shining a spotlight on mental health, raising awareness, challenging perceptions and demonstrating the power of the arts to tackle social justice issues. From Blues Jams in Aberdeen to flower bombing in Paisley, touring theatre shows in the Highlands and Islands to multi-venue art exhibitions in Edinburgh, we have engaged, challenged and encouraged conversation and debate around mental health. You only had to attend our Film Awards or Writing Awards, watch one of the films in our film programme, have your mental health assessed by the Vaccum Cleaner, attend our closing party with techno legend Derrick May, be amazed by Emma Jayne Park’s hip hop, weep at a Vanishing Point’s Tomorrow, take a look around the Out of Sight/Out of Mind exhibition, or be captivated by Holly McNish’s down to earth, yet challenging poetry to see this in action.

So what happens now? If you are already feeling the post festival blues, don’t worry. Keep an eye on our website and social media for updates on the exciting things we have in store throughout the year. It won’t be long until we will be making a call for entries to our Film Awards or Writing Awards!