First Fortnight 2014: Mental Health Arts Festival

Happy Clouds Dublin

First Fortnight, a festival run by the charity-based organisation of the same name, which aims to challenge mental health prejudice through creative arts, kicked off today on the streets of Dublin city.

We believe the arts allow us to create a space where people can talk about mental health issues in a non-scripted manner. Once that conversation has begun, we hope this will then help to change people’s perceptions about an issue that affects us all with one in four of us set to experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives. With that in mind, we hope to make the First Fortnight of each year synonymous with mental health awareness, challenging prejudice and ending stigma.

[First Fortnight]

Now in its third year, the festival runs from January 2nd – 11th, with a variety of events taking place.  While most of the events are based in Dublin, some will travel outside of the capital as First Fortnight travels to regional towns and cities for the first time. 

Happy Clouds

Pedestrians in the Grafton Street area earlier today may have noticed some very happy looking clouds greeting them as they went about their business.  Happy Clouds is a world-renowned artistic project by contemporary British artist Stuart Semple.  Semple aims to provide some uplifting entertainment and will unleash the smiling foam faces on unsuspecting Dubliners and Cavan folk at seven locations across the two counties throughout the course of the festival.  The happy helium smiles will surprise, delight and enthrall audiences and, hopefully, spread a little cheer.

Silver Linings Playbook

Seven screenings of the critically acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook will take place throughout the country in conjunction with Access > Cinema and See Change, the national mental health stigma reduction partnership.

Hailed as a refreshing portrayal of mental illness, Silver Linings Playbook explores the developing relationship between Pat, a man who suffers from bipolar disorder and has just been released from a psychiatric hospital, and Tifanny, a young woman who has been recently widowed.  The film also examines their relationships with those around them, as the two struggle to cope with everyday life.

A post-show discussion will follow all screenings, with the topic of discussion being: ‘How has film shaped your attitude to mental health?’   Silver Linings Playbook has been praised as the film that finally understood mental health problems. What has been the effect of all those that got it wrong?

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About The Author


Editor and admin, Carmel is our resident grammar (and spelling) nazi. She strongly disapproves of incorrect use of the term “irony” and, when not lamenting misuse of the English language, she works as a composer, performer, and music teacher. Carmel is a lover of all things related to music and the arts and, on her elusive days off, can be found baking delicious things.

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