The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival continues online throughout the summer, with weekly film screenings and conversations, livestreamed theatre, artist commissions, and a new exhibition. We have also launched our audience evaluation and need your help to better understand the impact that our online programme has been having. 

Help Us Measure Our Impact

As our planned activities reach their end, we have launched an audience evaluation for our online programme and need your help. Please complete our online survey to help us understand the impact of SMHAF 2020 on the people who engage with it. It explores the impact that attending and taking part in the online programme has had on people and how effective it has been in helping us achieve our aims.

Take part in the survey here. Those who complete it can choose to be entered into a prize draw to win a voucher. Please complete the survey by Friday 24 July. 

Film Programme

This week, we are also delighted to present an online screening of Lost Transmissions the debut film from director Katharine O’Brien which stars Simon Pegg as a musician with schizophrenia. Rent the film here until 6pm on Friday 3 July, and join us for a Zoom discussion with Katharine on Thursday 2 July at 8.30pm, with BSL interpretation available.

The full programme for our remaining film screenings is also now available. Next week, we present the world premiere of Scottish drama Riptide from director Tim Barrow. Partly filmed at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, it follows Jacob as he is discharged from a psychiatric hospital and embarks on a trip to the Highlands where he meets the charismatic Eva.

We are delighted to present Conviction, an important Canadian documentary about the devastating impact of the prison system on mental health from the eyes of women behind bars. There are also short film programmes exploring women’s experiences with mental health, including postnatal depression, bipolar and coming out, and unique, artistic perspectives on the subject of care.

Each week, we will be hosting a Zoom discussion involving filmmakers and others involved in the creative process on Thursday evening at 8.30pm. BSL interpretation will be provided for all discussions and all films are subtitled and/or captioned for D/deaf and hard of hearing audiences. Read more about these films there. 

Arts Programme

This week also marks the launch of an exhibition showcasing Reliquary, a participatory art commission by See Me and the Mental Health Foundation, in partnership with An Lanntair. 

Artists Martyn McKenzie and Kate McAllan worked with staff and participants from Catch 23, Penumbra and Western Isles Foyer, three Stornoway-based mental health organisations, to design hand-made wooden boxes whose appearance and content reflect the lives of the people creating them.

The project is part of See Me’s ongoing mission to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination. View the artworks here and watch a short film and read more about the exhibition here.

We are also delighted to share the first of five festival commissions on the theme My Experience of Isolation. James McDermott is a queer playwright and poet who has written and recorded two performance poems for SMHAF exploring the experiences of being an LGBTQ person during lockdown, a situation that has separated many people from supportive communities and safe spaces. Watch the recorded performances here and keep an eye on our website and social media for more work from this commission.

We also have the Wander films, supported by the Mental Health Foundation, these short films give you a window in to beautiful venues and locations in England and the Netherlands, with accompanying words from famous creatives.

Call for Submissions: The View From Here

The Perch, a Yale creative arts journal with a broad mental health theme, announces its call for submissions for a special 2020 issue, in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation and Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival. 

No “single narrative” can capture the essence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests against racism taking place around the globe. Instead, there are many narratives from people in different places with distinct identities, whose voices, experiences, and visions, taken together, might give us a glimmer of the moment we're living through. 

For this special issue—“The View from Here”—we invite writers, visual artists, and musicians to share original work they've created during and in relation to this time we are living in. We are looking for new, original work created during this ‘moment,' starting around March 15 2020.

The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2020. Submissions should be made online here

Behind the Lines: Scotland, How Are You doing? 

We are delighted to be working with filmmaker Hannah Currie on Behind The Lines, a new project that will capture individual stories from across Scotland during this time.

We want to hear from people all over Scotland about how they've been coping over the past months. Via audio interviews, our aim is to create a project that raises individual voices above the sea of statistics. If you'd like your voice to be heard, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.