Approximately 80 people attended the launch of the First Fortnight Festival at An Grianan Theatre in Letterkenny this week.
This is a Mental Health Arts and Culture Festival which utilises arts and culture to challenge mental health stigma while supporting some of Ireland’s most vulnerable people through creative therapies.
The HSE Donegal Mental Health Services together with Donegal Local Mental Health Forum (a group of people with lived experience of mental health services in Donegal) work collaboratively to identify and discuss matters of importance to service users and their supporters (family and carers) with the aim of improving mental health services for all.
They identified First Fortnight as an excellent opportunity to address stigma associated with mental health issues in a public-facing manner.
Through working with a number of stakeholders in Letterkenny as part of an interagency working group including Pramerica, Donegal County Council, CAWT iRecovery Project, Intercultural Platform, Donegal Volunteer Centre, Worklink and our hosts, An Grianan Theatre, Sonder Cafe and Create-a-link the events for the First Fortnight Festival Letterkenny were put in place.
The launch event brought people into An Grianan Theatre who had not previously attended the theatre to enjoy the art and hear people speak openly about mental health and accessing local supports. The Wellness Trail event on the 9th saw a large number of walkers and local service providers round off the walk in An Grianan theatre and enjoy a warm cup of soup and explore the number of services and supports available to people locally and around the county.
Speaking at the launch Louise Foy, Staff Nurse, Park View House HSE Mental Health Services and Facilitator of Park View Creative Group, stated “First Fortnight Festival provides a platform for people with mental health challenges to tap into their creative side and for our previous and current members of Park View House to showcase their work and express a side of them people do not always get to see”.
Patrick Nwaokorie, HSE Mental Health Engagement Lead, CHO 1 said stigmatising people with mental health difficulties reduces the likelihood of people accessing help and opening up about the things impacting their health.
He added “Events like First Fortnight serve to remind people that mental health need not define a person and stigmatising attitudes do not benefit our communities and the people in distress in need of help and support”.
For further information and to register to attend the events please click on the link below. Please be aware tor take part in the events you must register online. All events are free of charge
The ‘Draw Away from Worries’ exhibition continues all month in An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny.
Words from the Wise One (Writing Workshop) takes place in Letterkenny Library on Monday 13th of January at 2.30pm, subscription is now full but waiting list places are available.