Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
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Mental Health Awareness Week, 9-15 May 2022

Monday 9th May 2022 at 12pm 0 Comments

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, 9-15 May, 2022, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is highlighting some of the many amazing arts organisations that use the arts as a tool to improve mental health and wellbeing for people across the region, supported by The National Lottery and the Department for Communities.

VOID gallery in Derry-Londonderry is taking part in this year’s NI Mental Health Arts Festival, with a range of free arts activities for adults and children. See for a full programme taking place at the gallery during 10–14 May.

Brian Injury Matters is featuring in the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival with an exhibition and a performance.

  • A Piece of Me - An exhibition exploring the theme of ‘Gather’ and what this means to Brain Injury Matters artists. Exhibition opening 1:30 – 3:30 pm on Thursday 12th May 2022, John Luke Gallery, Arts for All, CitySide Retail Park, Unit D, Ground Floor, Belfast, BT15 1WA.

  • Have a Blast with ‘The Enthusiasts’ - ‘The Enthusiasts’ are a choir made up of singers from Brain Injury Matters, members of the Ormeau Community Choir and led by Una McCann. From 2:15 – 3:00pm on Wednesday the 11th May 2022 ‘The Enthusiasts’ are going to set The MAC, 10 Exchange St West, Belfast, BT1 2NJ alight with live favourites from well-known musicals. In the Brain Injury Matters ‘EveryBODY sings’ concept, singers may sing, use instruments, move to the music or simply and powerfully provide the rhythm of their heartbeat!

Arts and culture plays an important role in supporting mental health, wellbeing and recovery in care settings. One of our leading arts and health organisations in NI, Artscare, delivers training annually to clinicians, medical students and nursing teams on how arts based approaches can enhance patient care.

Check out this example of one area of Arts Care’s valuable work, providing an online arts training programme to healthcare workers with the aim of upskilling staff and giving them the confidence to deliver arts activities to vulnerable older people in residential care settings.

Arts and culture plays an important role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people.

The Arts Council’s ARTiculate Young People and Wellbeing Programme is a young people and wellbeing pilot programme that ran in collaboration with the Public Health Agency between 2016 and 2019. It aimed to use the arts and creativity as a tool to engage young people and support them in improving their mental health and wellbeing.

49 arts projects were funded over the four years and a total of 2,839 young people supported. 87% of young people involved said that taking part in the project had helped them in some way to feel better about themselves, improve their self-confidence and mood.

Check out this video with ARTiculate participant Youth Action NI and featuring BAFTA nominated International prize winning writer and poet, Lemn sissay

Arts and culture plays an important role in supporting pupils in schools.

The Arts Council’s Creative Schools Partnership Programme aims to develop arts projects designed to improve confidence, mental health and wellbeing of pupils in schools across NI. The programme is based on research which indicates that access to quality arts experiences in school can benefit all aspects of learning.

To date, artists and arts organisations have worked with 1,239 children and young people in 13 schools across NI.

Check out this video with Lisneal College who have taken part in the programme.

Arts and culture plays an important role in helping older people stay well, recover faster, and have positive mental health and wellbeing.

The Arts & Older People Programme (AOPP) has been running for 12 years with support from The National Lottery, Public Health Agency and The Baring Foundation. It aims to reduce the isolation and loneliness felt by older people and carers via participation in arts projects designed to increase wellbeing and self-esteem.

To date, AOPP has supported more than 28,000 older people across Northern Ireland in a range of care settings.

First Fortnight is a festival at The Duncairn that aims to challenge the stigma around mental health through the arts. Join them on 25 June for an event compered by Stephen James Smith and featuring musician, Ciaran Lavery, poet, Nandi Jola and author/spoken word performer, Peter Murphy. Visit

The Arts Council recognises the contribution culture and the arts can bring to a healthy and health-creating society and actively encourage the artists and organisation we fund to work within this important area.

To read our Response to the Department of Health for the Consultation on the Draft Mental Health Strategy (2021 to 2031) visit

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