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NIMHAF Goes Virtual

The Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival (NIMHAF) are proud to present 36 online events as part of this year’s virtual programme, which highlights mental health, challenges stigma and inequality, and promotes recovery and wellbeing through active creativity.

The week-long festival, which is supported by partner organisations and sponsors including the Mental Health Foundation, runs from Monday 18 May until Sunday 24 May, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week 2020.

This year’s festival will include 34 virtual events and two Open Calls, focussing on key themes such as identity and isolation.

Some highlights of the online events include:

  • The Big Sing for Wellness - Monday 18 – Friday 22 May, 3.30pm; and Saturday 23 May, 11.00am

Research has shown that singing not only strengthens the immune system but also lowers stress levels, helps with sleep, improves mental alertness, acts as a natural antidepressant, builds confidence and connects people. It’s also great craic…what is not to like?

  • Yoga with Denis Jackson Wade - Monday 18 May, 7.00pm

Denis believes in a holistic approach to physical and mental wellness and his goal is to help others alleviate any suffering through his yoga teachings. No previous experience of yoga necessary.

  • ‘I Take a Journey’: Short film by Brain Waves (Brain Injury Matters) - Wednesday 20 May, 7.00pm

A haunting and emotional short film, which inspires hope through the transformative and cathartic power of art. In their own words and through movement, expression and dance, the participants want to express the sense of freedom and liberty that engaging with the arts brings, along with the empowerment to overcome the challenges that life with an acquired brain injury brings.

  • Helen Sloan Q&A on Facebook Live - Thursday 21 May, 7.00pm

Helen Sloan, lead photographer for the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, invites the viewers to ask her about her work, her life and her lived experience with mental health.

  • Paul Currie ‘Turbo Hallion’ Instagram Live Comedy Show - Saturday 23 May, 8.00pm

Currie has carved himself a reputation since 2005 as an uncompromising underground alternative comedian in the UK, Australia and Europe, by building up a loyal fan base with his unique style of genre-breaking stand-up.

All events will be showcased online and or streamed via social platforms, details of which can be found on the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival website:

NIMHAF is also pleased to announce a new partnership with the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) this year, which will see the festivals collaborate and share content and ideas between the two nations.

Dr Trisha Forbes, Chair of the Board for NIMHAF, said:

“We made the decision to commission artists in light of the recent global events, to support them both financially and as a peer-to-peer support network for their mental health. We are excited to present our programme to you at home and feel that the online nature of the Festival this year is actually a positive step in terms of facilitating inclusion and making events more accessible for individuals with mental health challenges.”

The Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival is led by the Mental Health Foundation and supported by the following partners: Strand Arts Centre, the Spectrum Centre, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the 343, Belfast Exposed, Bombardier, Inspire, Brain Injury Matters, Film Hub NI, University of Atypical and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

For more information about the festival, please visit or follow us on our social media channels:

Twitter: @nimhafest

Instagram: @nimhafest

MEDIA OPPORTUNITY: Media bids to Dr Trisha Forbes, Chair of the Board for NIMHAF, at or Tel: +44 (0)7739535316. Media are welcome to attend.

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