The idea of the film festival is to challenge perceptions of mental health and also to stimulate debate between the arts and the mental health professions.
Often there is a stigma attached to mental health and the festival directors hope to address these problems with the public as a whole.
When the festival was first in the pipe line the organisers ( Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival )were planning it on a fairly small scale, with just films in and around Glasgow over the space of a weekend. Three years later and it has grown into the world’s largest festival of it’s kind with more than 200 events up and down the country, from music to dance and film, comedy and theatre.
On top of the exploration of gender and mental health, the festival also broaches subjects and themes such as community cohesion, mental health, the recession and wellbeing.
Rod Jones, guitarist and vocalist for the band Idlewild, suffers from depression and this spurred him to become involved with the festival. He said “The whole point to me is not just to make people aware of what services are available for them but also to make them realise that they are not alone and it is a common thing to happen,”
Jones believes that the festivals rapid expansion and broader impact is down to the year round projects on offer that help people on a day to day basis. “There are certain projects and workshops set up because of the festival, projects that keep people involved in this issue because depression, for example, does not go away because of one good month,” he says.