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Transforming attitudes to mental health: using art festivals to access hard-to-reach communities

Summary of the impact

Research conducted at Strathclyde has shown that current pathways which focus on education and public information are failing to transform attitudes to mental health amongst low-income communities and black & ethnic minorities. Drawing on this research, an annual Mental Health Arts Festival has been created. Since 2008 the event has engaged over 40,000 people, and is now one of the largest arts and social justice festivals in Europe. The Festival has affected the ways in which these `hard to reach' groups are involved in addressing stigma and mental health, has changed approaches to the delivery of mental health awareness lessons in schools and communities, has led to NHS boards building the festival into their health improvement policies and strategies, and has been a central part of the Scottish Government's national anti-stigma `see me' campaign. The idea of a dedicated arts festival has been replicated elsewhere in the UK and internationally, and is transforming the attitudes and behaviour within black and minority ethnic and low-income communities to mental health.

Submitting Institution

University of Strathclyde

Unit of Assessment

Social Work and Social Policy

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Medical and Health Sciences: Public Health and Health Services

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