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Project/initiative|United Kingdom|Regional

The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival

Project title

The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival

Description of initiative

The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) is an annual festival led by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland and takes place in May. It aims to support the arts, explore how engagement in the arts can prevent mental health problems, and challenge stigma. SMHAF combines high artistic quality with strong grassroots support, community engagement and social activism. Launched in 2007, SMHAF has grown into one of the largest festivals of its kind in the world, with over 300 events and 25,000 attendees across Scotland each year. Its innovative approach, combining high quality artistic events with community led programming and a social justice agenda, has been replicated internationally.

Further information on the initiative

Themes: Culture and...

Community well-being
Mental health
Quality of social relations


festival, mental health, youth, arts, co-design

Target group

Not targeted to a specific group

Cultural field

Film, video | Music | Other | Visual arts


2007 - present

Results, benefits, impact and lessons learnt

In 2018, festival events reached around 12,000 people, a 20 percent increase on what the organisers originally estimated. 748 young people (aged 8-26) took part in the activities and events.


Mental Health Foundation Scotland
United Kingdom
NGO / Non-profit | Health