This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week in the States. On Sunday, it is also World Mental Health Day. It’s also been a month since I visited a mental health festival. Therefore, I decided to bring you an insight into this unique event, ‘All in the Mind Festival‘. All in the Mind is an art festival that builds bridges between the artists and the community. It connects people of different abilities, conditions, races, ages, ethnicity and backgrounds. It aims to improve equality in the mental health world.
All in the Mind Festival
All in the Mind Festival is the UK’s leading arts and mental health outdoor festival. It is a free, family-friendly, one-day event that takes place in Basingstoke, Hampshire (UK). The Fluid Motion Theatre Company has been organising the event since 2016. Due to the level of interest, it has been an annual event ever since.
I want to highlight that this is not an advertisement for the Fluid Motion Theatre Company, it’s only my personal experience from the festival that they organise. This summer I visited it for the first time and really enjoyed the wide range of performances. I particularly enjoyed the Take Ten performance installation. The gentle swing chair was ideal for slowing down and taking deep breaths. And with the use of the sound installation, I was able to relax and reflect. What a great treat in this busy world. Something that we definitely need more in our everyday life.
The Fluid Motion Theatre Company
Ali Gill and Leigh Johnstone are the faces behind The Fluid Motion Theatre Company. They founded the company in 2010 and Leigh is the Artistic Director and Ali the Executive Director. I had the opportunity to meet Ali at the festival. She has a wide range of experience in acting as well as working with young people. Perhaps this is why she is so prominent whilst running the company behind the scenes, but also when it comes to performing at the festival. The company runs different projects whilst working with adults and young people from different backgrounds and abilities. It offers them a chance to perform on stage and so increase their confidence and celebrate their achievements. It’s a great way to promote mental health equality. The workshops that they run in the South of England are designed to unite people to promote resilience, confidence, positive health and wellbeing.
Festival that promotes mental health equality
When it comes to mental health equality, the organisers didn’t forget anyone. Big or small, there was something for everyone. Adults and children could enjoy theatrical, music or spoken word performances; or even join in. There was an opportunity to be arty and let your creativity flow, relax, reflect and let people connect with themselves and nature. You could even take home a piece that you made or was created specifically for you, such as a poem.
The different performances were divided into zones. There was a greeting and information point, where you could grab a programme with all the details and the festival map. Of course, there were toilets and First Aid providers. There was also plenty of food and hot or soft drinks on offer. And all this in a Covid safe environment. And to make it an event for everyone, sign language interpreters were also available. The organisers were really thinking of everything.
Why not join in?
The main idea behind this mental health festival is to promote positive mental health and wellbeing for all. By bringing together professional artists and the wider community, it supports mental health equality. If you would like to support the running of a festival, then the organisers would be more than grateful for any donations. As a charity, the funding that the organisers receive never covers all the costs. They, therefore, have to rely on the support and goodwill of the public. Please check their website to find out how could you help to support them.
If you think you have what it takes to inspire and empower others through art and creativity, then I’m sure the Fluid Motion Theatre would like to hear from you. Do not hesitate to contact them. Everyone is welcome to contribute in order to create a festival that promotes hope, positivity, openness, good feeling, wellbeing and self-expression.
Mental Health in an Unequal World
On the 10th of October is World Mental Health Day and the theme this year is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World‘. It points towards all the inequality in mental health care worldwide. It’s therefore remarkable to see that there is a company that is able to promote and showcase equality in the mental health world. It connects people from different backgrounds, races, ethnicity, identity, orientation through art. This is so important, especially nowadays when the world is so divided, and the gap between poor and rich is so large. It shows us that people with different abilities can meet and celebrate together and do something for their mental health and wellbeing
This is crucial as there are still so many countries where human rights are not respected, and people with mental health are disadvantaged. This, unfortunately, doesn’t happen only in poor countries. We know that even in rich counties people find often hard to access mental health services. Unfortunately, there are still too many people who do not receive the treatment that they need. Many of them experience stigma and discrimination.
Read also ‘How to Support Someone with PTSD?‘
You have a voice to help to contribute to equality in mental health
Making people aware of this in order to start breaking down the barriers is one of the aims of the Fluid Motion Theatre Company that gives people an opportunity to express themselves. However, there is no need to create a company or organise a festival. Every little can help. It can be as little as showing respect to all, not discriminate against people with mental health problems. Use awareness days and months to come together and highlights the problems around inequality in mental health, our society and the world. Learn about mental health inequality and the issues that mental health faces. Use your voice to spread awareness and act against inequality to ensure positive mental health and wellbeing for all. By working together, we can make changes for the better which will benefit all of us.
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Have you ever experienced inequality in mental health, or do you know about anyone who did? How are you using your voice to fight against the inequality in mental health? Are you celebrating World Mental Health Day, and how? Share your thoughts and ideas in a comment below.
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