A FESTIVAL aimed at challenging the public perception of mental health has more than tripled in size since its launch in 2007.


Now in its seventh year, the Mental Health Arts and Film Festival started out as a small weekend event in Glasgow and has exploded since then.

And this year it will run for a whole month, from tomorrow until October 26.

The festival will feature nearly 300 concerts, films, comedy shows and plays across the country.

It hopes to explore how people see mental health and what the term actually means, as well as helping people to find out more about it.

Organiser Lee Knifton said: "The theme of this year's Festival is 'reality', and we left that purposefully broad.

"This year, we wanted to give space to all those different interpretations and encourage as much artistic freedom as possible.

"The result is a fantastically diverse programme of events, with something challenging, entertaining and inspiring for everyone."

Glasgow will be hosting 30 events this year including a screening of film Running From Crazy at the GFT.

The picture stars Mariel Hemingway, grand-daughter of Nobel Prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway, and follows her journey to come to terms with her family's history of suicide and mental illness.

The director, Barbara Koople, will also be attending a Q&A after the screening.

Another of the festival's highlights include First Cousin Once Removed, a documentary about poet Edward Honig.

Director Alan Berliner filmed the poet who sadly gradually lost his memory as his Alzheimer's condition progressed.

Lee Knifton said: "A large part of what the festival does is tackle the stigma of mental illness in new, disarming, creative ways.

"But we're also concerned with raising awareness of mental health every day, encouraging people to view their mental health as just as important and variable as physical health.

"If there was any doubt about how important this message is, you only need to look at how the festival has expanded since its first celebration seven years ago."

Last year's event attracted more than 15,000 people and organisers are hoping even more people will attend this year.

Tickets and details of the programme can be found at www.mhfestival.com

hannah.rodger @eveningtimes.co.uk