This year, the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival has over 300 events taking place in 13 regions across Scotland from 10-29 October. In the build-up to the festival, we will be offering a series of regional highlights, helping you keep track of what’s happening near you. Here is our pick of events taking place in Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire, Inverclyde and East Dunbartonshire

Renfrewshire highlights include a screening of Mad to be Normal (Tue 17 Oct), which tells the story of renowned Glasgwegian psychiatrist R.D. Laing and the experimental community he established at Kingsley Hall in East London during the 1960s. St Matthew's in Paisley hosts a series of film events, including Silent Night (Thu 19 Oct), which provides an opportunity for local filmmakers and artists to showcase their short films with a live score, before a screening of classic silent comedy The General, while Renfrewshire Restored (Wed 25 Oct) is a night of local films aiming to bring the past back to life. 

St Matthew's also hosts a site-specific exhibition, Nouveau Life (23-27 Oct), exploring the artistry and heritage of the church, and there are several community exhibitions, including Winter Coats and Passing Time (10-31 Oct), taking place in public spaces throughout Renfrewshire. Also recommended is a unique drumming event to celebrate the 10th birthday of the Buddy Beat (Fri 13 Oct), Paisley's award-winning group who drum for mental health and wellbeing, while acclaimed spoken word night Flint & Pitch (Wed 18 Oct) bring together five diverse acts at Paisley Arts Centre to creatively respond to the theme Reclaim This Script. 

Younger people can join us for You Matter Always (Fri 20 Oct), a brainstorming session for young people and professionals to share their ideas on how arts and culture can positively impact mental health and wellbeing. Ideas developed at the event will shape the You Matter Always programme for Scotland’s Year of Young People in 2018 and be included in Paisley’s City of Culture bid 2021.

In LanarkshireThe Art of Being me (10-23 Oct) provides an opportunity to connect with people who have experienced the positive impact of therapeutic arts while participating in Bazooka Arts projects. Hear inspiring personal stories about reclaiming wellbeing and identity, try out a variety of therapeutic art and drama techniques, and visit an exhibition of artworks produced by the groups. You can also participate in a huge variety of workshops, including Reclaim Your Right to Write (10-31 Oct), Sing It! (13-27 Oct), Rhythm of Life! (14-26 Oct), and engage in an exciting theatre programme, which includes Drink (Sat 14 Oct) and On Any Given Night (20-28 Oct) in Lanarkshire.

In InverclydeCurious Shoes (Mon 16 Oct) tells the story of four intriguing characters on a journey from Here to There. Brought to life with live music and movement, the audience is invited to join a curious voyage in this bespoke performance specially created for people living with dementia. Also in performing arts, Welcome, my Son, is a unique interpretation of Frankenstein, as told through the monster’s eyes. Seamlessly melding the disciplines of Chinese pole, physical theatre and storytelling, Phil Hardie explores the Mary Shelley classic in a new and exciting way. And for something completely different, the Dutch Gable: Escape Room Experience offers you a unique opportunity to discover the oldest building in Inverclyde.

Finally, in East Dunbartonshire, we welcome both new and more experienced artists to participate in the taster workshop Drawing To Music (Fri 13 Oct), involving drawing and experimental mark making in a relaxing setting. There will be a range of music to inspire creativity, from mindfulness music to invigorating emotional pieces. And there's an opportunity to join the WALK Development Officer on a gentle 30-45 minute Silent Health Walk (Tue 17 Oct) with only your thoughts and nature. Take this unique opportunity to relax, reflect or just create some headspace from the noise and stress we battle every day.

We hope you can make it to some of these events and encourage you to explore the full programme to discover everything that is taking place.