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Publication Date: 13/10/2016 

Mental health arts and film festival 

Pop Idol star opens 2016 Lanarkshire event 


(l-r) North Lanarkshire Councillor Barry McCulloch; Lynne Cruickshank, senior officer North Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership; Michelle McManus, Edward Reid. Kevin O’Neil, Susan McMorrin 

Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus launched the 2016 Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival (SMHAFF) in Lanarkshire.

She was joined at a sell-out event in the Colville Park Country Club in Motherwell by Britain’s Got Talent star and Coatbridge man Edward Reid.

This is the 10th year of the annual festival which has grown over the decade to become a major event in Scotland’s arts calendar.

The festival runs until 31 October and among the events taking place in Lanarkshire are:
• A photography exhibition in East Kilbride Arts Centre
• Mini painting exhibitions across Cambuslang and Rutherglen
• A comedy weekender in Motherwell Concert Hall and Airdrie Town Hall
• Wellbeing and happiness workshops with Edward Reid in East Kilbride, Rutherglen and Hamilton
• An Asian cultural event in Bellshill
• An animation workshop in Coatbridge.

Singer song writer Pat O'Neill, with Lanarkshire’s amazing Soundsational choir.

The theme is ‘Time’ recognising the fact that time is the most precious gift we can give or receive and that we should all take some time for our mental health.

Organiser of the event in Lanarkshire, NHS Lanarkshire senior health promotion officer, Susan McMorrin said: “There are 23 events running in Lanarkshire during the festival which includes comedy, exhibitions, drama, workshops and an awful lot more.

“The event has grown immeasurably over the years and it is now one of the world’s largest social justice festivals with annual attendances in excess of 25,000.

“Over the last 10 years in Lanarkshire we have held over 250 events with over 50,000 people participating.”

The SMHAFF aims to support the arts and challenge preconceived ideas about mental health.

It also sets out to remind everyone that mental health is important to all of us and that we must all value and look after ours and others’ mental health.

Kevin O’Neil, Lanarkshire public mental health and well-being development manager, said: “Despite the fact that most people will have some personal experience of mental ill health, stigma and discrimination are still unfortunately common place within our society.

“The SMHAFF provides a platform to challenge, engage and explore the issues and themes around mental health and promote positive attitudes towards mental health and mental illness.

“It also highlights that being involved, creative, connected and learning new things are important to good mental health.”

To see all the events taking place in this year’s SMAFF, see the brochure at: http://www.elament.org.uk/media/1435/smhaff-prog2016_lores.pdf
Details of events in Lanarkshire are on pages 42-44