Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival boasts strong film programme

Documentary film Irene’s Ghost will screen at Srand Arts Centre in Belfast

RUNNING from May 11 to 23, the Northern Ireland Mental Health Arts Festival (NIMHAF) will highlight mental health issues by showcasing arts and film events at various venues across Belfast and Derry.

This year’s programme explores body image, gender identity, female and maternal mental health. Events include stand-up and open mic comedy nights, dance performances, monologues, interactive workshops, art exhibitions, music and film.

Film highlights include postpartum psychosis-themed documentary Irene’s Ghost (May 15, Strand Arts Centre, Belfast), introduced by director Iain Cunningham and maternal mental health campaigner Lindsay Robinson. The film-maker describes his highly personal story as "a son’s search to find out about the mother he never knew, piecing together fragments of the past to make sense of the present".

Dialogues with Madwomen (May 14, The 343, Belfast) by Oscar and Emmy winners Allie Light and Irving Saraf is a moving portrayal of seven women diagnosed with mental health disorders.

NIMHAF organiser Gavin Davidson, professor of Social Care at QUB, says: "The festival coincides with Mental Health Awareness week. Everyone has mental health; just like physical health it fluctuates between wellness and illness for most individuals over a lifetime.

"We hope that as well as enjoying some world class art and film, the events will get people talking and opening up about mental health."

:: View the full programme at

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