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Highland festival will focus on mental health


By Val Sweeney

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EVENTS ranging from films to dance performances will be staged as part of a month-long festival in the Highlands to highlight mental health issues.

The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) Highland will be officially launched on Tuesday afternoon at the Bike Shed Coffee House in Merkinch.

It will include an art exhibition, poetry readings, song and short films on the theme of Connected.

Director Karrie Marshall said the festival aimed to support the arts and challenge preconceived ideas about mental health.

“By engaging with artists, connecting with communities and forming collaborations, we celebrate the artistic achievements of people with experience of mental health issues and people who know the power of art for mental wellbeing, exploring the relationship between creativity and the mind, and promoting positive mental health,” she said.

The region is hosting 40 of the 300 national SMHAF events.

On Sunday, two short films will be screened at Eden Court highlighting the link between living with diabetes and the impact on mental health.

It will be followed by a panel discussion with the film makers and people with diabetes.

Sugar Drop, a psychological thriller, explores the fear and effects of dangerously low blood sugars while Lynsey’s Story is about a young woman’s experience of diabulimia, an eating disorder which can affect people with type one diabetes.

Angela Mitchell, national director of Diabetes Scotland, said living with diabetes could take its toll on people’s mental and physical health.

“The impact of these unseen psychological and emotional effects can be devastating if people don’t get the support they need,” she said.


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