Together with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Midlands Arts Centre, and Geese Theatre Company, we were thrilled to return as a partner for the fourth edition of BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival – a celebration of the arts, mental health and wellbeing, which ran from 1-12 October 2019.
1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year. In England, 1 in 6 people experience a common mental health problem (such as anxiety or depression) each week. So whether you’ve experienced this, or know someone who has, you’re not alone. It’s vital to share your stories – and taking part in the arts is a natural way to do so.
The aim of BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival was, once again, to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing through the importance of the arts. It coincided with World Mental Health Day on 10 October 2019, which focused on suicide prevention. The festival was launched on 1 October 2019 at MAC (Midlands Arts Centre).
“Plays and the arts provide people an alternative way to think about mental health instead of through facts and figures. It is a more personable and relatable delivery method”
Collectively, we were delighted to bring audiences a diverse programme of world premieres, visual art and film as well as powerful live performance through spoken word, dance, music and theatre, including our new Sampad production about the journey of new parenthood, No Bond So Strong, written by Olivia Winteringham. We also ran a Chai and Chat event with Birmingham-based, British Pakistani poet and playwright spoken word artist Nafeesa Hamid, who discussed mental health in the context of her own experiences, especially as a BME woman.
A total of 1,163,788 people engaged with BEDLAM Arts and Health Festival 2019, both in person and online.
We hope that BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival continues to reduce stigma, and encourages honest discussions around mental health – all with some fantastic performances. Whatever your age or background, there’s something for everyone.