#SMHAF22 is exploring the theme GATHER as it returns to live audiences across Scotland for the first time since 2019. The innovative programme of events is unveiled on the SMHAF website and in printed brochures available in community and cultural venues across Scotland, with over 200 events and activities, including both live and online programming, covering theatre, film, writing, visual arts and music.
Now in its 16th year, throughout the festival, gatherings will be happening across Scotland, and online, to celebrate the arts, promote good mental health and wellbeing, and bring communities together.
Gail Aldam, Arts and Events Manger at the Mental Health Foundation, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming artists to Gather with us and share their incredible work exploring mental health issues, challenging stigma and demonstrating how engagement with the arts can improve wellbeing. The theme of Gather was inspired by the longing to come together, connect and share experiences after two years of restrictions but we are also questioning what it now means to gather as we enter a post-pandemic age.
“We are hugely excited to be returning to live venues with SMHAF this year. While the last two years have been challenging, it did allow us to reach new audiences in Scotland and beyond with our online events, which is why we will continue to offer digital events as part of our commitment to inclusive and accessible programming.”
SMHAF is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF). The festival coincides with the charity’s Mental Health Awareness Week which, this year, is examining Loneliness. Research by MHF has found that loneliness has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The week will raise awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental wellbeing and the practical steps we can take to address it.
SMHAF is one of Scotland’s biggest, most diverse festivals. Its unique approach – programmed from the ground up by a team of regional co-ordinators all across the country, in combination with a film and theatre programme curated by the Mental Health Foundation – ensures it connects with audiences that other arts festivals often struggle to reach.