SMHAF 2023: ‘Revolution’

The Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) is due to take place from 4-22 October 2023.  The theme this year is ‘Revolution’ which was chosen to reflect a desire to address the impact of economic barriers and social inequality on mental health.

SMHAF 2023 will be an exercise in ‘art as activism’, with a programme designed as a collective statement and manifesto for social change, asking questions like – What needs to happen for everyone to have the opportunity to live mentally healthier lives? and How can we be more radical when it comes to mental health and the arts?

This year’s festival opens with Manifesto, a one-day, agenda-setting arts and mental health event in Glasgow on Wednesday 4th October. Manifesto will combine performance, film screenings, workshops, discussions, and a celebratory closing live music event. They plan to document and present this day of activity online as a collective mental health arts manifesto, to which they hope to continue adding more material from other events across Scotland as the festival progresses.  The full programme is available later this year.

Get Involved

In your local area – There is still time for communities, organisations and artists from across Scotland to get involved by supporting and developing events in your local area. These can include exhibitions, creative workshops, performances, live music, film screenings, discussion events, and much more – anything that uses the arts or creativity to engage people in mental health. To find out how to get involved or to request an event submission form, contact Rob Dickie, Arts and Festival Officer at the Mental Health Foundation,

Writing Competition – The 10th annual writing competition is open for entries and there are a series of workshops over the summer to encourage and support new entrants to submit their work. This year they are looking for new writing that explores mental health through the theme of ‘Revolution’. The closing date is midnight on Monday 28th August. Read the full guidelines and submit your application here. Submit

About the Festival

SMHAF is an annual programme to support the arts, explore how engagement in the arts can help prevent mental ill health and challenge preconceived ideas about mental health. It is led by the Mental Health Foundation and is supported by our national partners: Creative Scotland, Thrive Edinburgh, Edinburgh Health & Social Care Partnership, Baring Foundation, See Me, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, and Scottish Recovery Network. Find out more at Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival – Home (

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