Artists and Academics Come Together to Mark World Mental Health Day at Nerve Centre

04th October 2018

Northern Ireland’s leading experts in mental health, well-being and the creative arts will meet at the Nerve Centre, Derry~Londonderry in celebration of World Mental Health Day on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th October.

The Movies in Mind Festival is a new initiative funded by Ulster University and delivered by the School of Arts and Humanities (Cinematic Arts and Drama) at the Magee Campus in partnership with the Nerve Centre. The free event will feature live music, film screenings, discussion panels and creative arts workshops; all themed on the link between mental health and wellbeing and how creative arts are raising awareness and providing positive intervention.

Movies in Mind opens on Tuesday October 9th at 7pm with a special fifth anniversary performance by Six Strings & Stigma. Six Strings & Stigma was an album launched in 2013, inspired by the true stories of local people struggling with their mental health. Introduced by Barry McGale from Suicide Bereavement UK, the evening will include live music from Ruairi O’Doherty, Jeannette & Noella Hutton, Paddy Nash, John Deery, Decky McLaughlin and Roy Arbuckle. Tickets are free but booking is essential.

On Wednesday October 10th the Nerve Centre will host leading academic researchers, creative arts practitioners and local youth and mental health support services for a day of talks, wellbeing workshops and screenings.

Professor Siobhan O’Neill, Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University and leading authority on trauma and mental health, will deliver the keynote address, 'Mental Health in Northern Ireland and What We Can Do To Help', while Dr Lisa Fitzpatrick, Senior Lecturer in Drama, will present ‘Research and Impact at Ulster (Creative Arts and Health/Wellbeing)’.

John Peto, Director of Education at the Nerve Centre, will also speak about its range of creative media programmes and their impact in his talk, 'The Nerve Centre and Mental Wellbeing, from Awareness Raising to Therapeutic Intervention'.

A range of mental health focused short films made by BFI Film Academy, local youth organisations and from filmmaker John Deery (Cinematic Arts PhD Candidate at Ulster University) will be screened whilst panel discussions on how creative arts can be used to tackle mental health issues will be facilitated by Dr Victoria McCollum, Lecturer in Cinematic Arts, Professor Siobhan O’Neill, Tom Bradley (Samaritans NI) and Emma Johnston (Youth Action Northern Ireland).

In the afternoon a series of Creative Arts Workshop sessions, ranging from music and comedy to cinematic arts, will be available to participate in. Roy Arbuckle will focus on voice and breathing exercises in his Music and Mindfulness Workshop, while local artist Sorcha Shanahan, who forms one half of the Makeyuppers, will look at how play, games and having fun can reconnect us to ourselves and others in Feeling Funny (Comedy for Connection and Confidence).

Cinematic Arts and Drama PhD candidates from Ulster University will also screen a range of short films including Quiet, a story of economic uncertainty, by playwright and filmmaker Don McCamphill, Far From the Reach of the Sun, an LGBT/queer short, by Dublin visual artist Kevin Gaffney, and new work, on conflict and identity, by award-winning Iranian video artist Hamideh Javadi Bejandi.

Rounding off the day from 4pm-10pm are three feature films themed around mental health and wellbeing; Boy Interrupted; A Girl Like Her and Silver Linings Playbook, presented by Ones to Watch at Nerve Centre and supported by Foyle Film Festival.

Dr Victoria McCollum, Lecturer in Cinematic Arts at Ulster University, said: 'Movies in Mind is inspired by the foundation of high quality research being conducted within the Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies research unit at Ulster University (Magee) as well as the impact and reach that film and digital media projects from organisations like the Nerve Centre can have on positive mental health and wellbeing.

‘The event aims to challenge, touch and inspire audiences from all walks of life and will provide a shared space whereby academics, creatives, health and wellbeing organisations and the public are united by their desire to contribute to social change.'

Movies in Mind is supported by a range of local charities and mental health service organisations on the day including Youth Action Northern Ireland, Samaritans Derry, Foyle Search & Rescue, Men's Action Network, Lifeline, Aware and more to be announced.

Information on support and services will be available on the day and representatives from a variety of charities will be there to hear from and speak to anyone about what services are on offer to support mental health locally.

Tickets for the event including workshops and film screenings are free and all are welcome, however booking is essential. To register your place for anything across the two days visit

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