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First Fortnight Festival Event explores Mental Health through Creativity

First Fortnight Festival Event explores Mental Health through Creativity

The Bank of Ireland workbench hosted an event for the First Fortnight Festival Thursday 11th January 2018 exploring how creativity positively impacts our mental health and challenges the stigma associated with mental health issues. The First Fortnight Festival event, hosted by EmployAbility Limerick and Limerick Mental Health Association, saw professionals and members of public attend and participate in this open event where creativity was not in short supply.

The First Fortnight Festival is an initiative run by the Festival of Arts to incorporate the arts into the conversation of mental health with the Irish Times referring to it as ‘where art meets mental health’. The Limerick-based organisations ran this First Fortnight Festival event encompassing this ethos where ‘the festival is challenging social consciousness around mental health’ (Keegan, 2015).

EmployAbility Limerick, who support persons with a disability, injury and illness secure and maintain employment, also support a high number of persons with mental health issues in finding work. Limerick Mental Health Association runs many recovery-based mental health projects locally such as Le Cheile Peer Support Project and Men’s Sheds.

First Fortnight Festival

The Bank of Ireland workbench hosted an event for the First Fortnight Festival Thursday 11th January 2018

EmployAbility, who have recently launched their first blog space on the organisation’s website, marked this creative and digital birth by the first contributor, job coach Michelle O’Connor, reading a piece on creativity and mental health benefits. This year, EmployAbility Limerick also launched an animation highlighting the service provided from the perspective of a client which was shown on the day.

Limerick Mental Health Associations project co-ordinator, Julianne Hennelly discussed the range of creative writing and music classes provided for persons with mental health issues in their centre based on Sexton Street. Julianne also brought this to life by singing some songs with her Merlin instrument.

The First Fortnight Festival allows us to explore creativity and this allows our mental health to improve or highlight our struggles through this medium. Dr. Pat Braken of Mental health services Cork reaffirms work, relationships, the creative arts, recreation, peer support, religion, and spirituality can be pathways for recovery with mental health issues. 

To get more information about the First Fortnight Festival, go here.

To read about more events, go here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.

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