A one-day event ‘RISE – Arts and Mental Health Symposium’ took place at Heart of Hawick on May 24.
It arose from the belief that the arts offer an essential opportunity to improve mental health and wellbeing and brought together artists, health and social care professionals, and third sector organisations to explore the positive contribution that arts and creativity can make to people’s lives.
Local and national speakers shared current thinking and showcased best practice with the aim to explore, discuss and shape future approaches for collaborating across boundaries.
“We are keen to enable a more joined-up and collaborative approach to supporting health and wellbeing through innovative projects and partnerships with a range of arts organisations and practitioners,” said Live Borders’ Connected and Creative Communities Manager, Lisa Denham. “Whether doing something creative, attending an evening of song and dance or even making a film exploring depression, these activities can all help develop an understanding of how taking part in cultural experiences can support individuals.”
Live music was provided on the day by Millie Hanlon Cole, an 18-year-old singer/songwriter known simply as Millie, who performed live in the Heart of Hawick Auditorium and showcased some of the skills she developed as part of ‘Sound Cycle’, the Youth Music Forum project in the Borders that builds opportunities in music for young people.
The symposium had a focus on young people’s emotional health and creativity in recognition of the Year of Young People. It is known from local and national consultations that mental health is a big issue for many young people and that building resilience is a priority. Clare De Bolle from YouthBorders, Tom Swift of VOMO and Niall Campbell and Catrina Barquist from Borders College presented on this theme.
Also providing information and inspiration was Kevin Harrison from Artlink Central, Siobhan McConnachie from the National Galleries of Scotland and artists Sushiela Jamieson and Sharon Quigley. Lynne Irons, Director of Managed Services at Live Borders, said “Talking about mental health is not something everyone is comfortable with. The opportunity to engage with so many partners on all of the work delivered by arts programmes was inspiring.”