This October, we helped young Londoners to organise a festival of cultural activity in London, coinciding with World Mental Health Day (WMHD) on Wednesday, 10 October 2018.

In partnership with Mental Health Foundation and the Mayor of London’s Culture Team, the Thrive LDN Culture initiative joined up with Brixton Reel Film Festival to enable Londoners to share their experiences directly with a wide audience through filmed story telling. The Culture initiative is an ongoing project that will only get bigger and bolder; to get involved just email culture@thriveldn.co.uk.

World Mental Health Day 2018

This year’s WMHD theme of ‘Young People’s Mental Health in a Changing World’ steered the Thrive LDN Culture initiative and Thrive LDN and partners worked with young Londoners on the festival. The festival particularly sought to engage with young Londoners who are at greater risk of developing poor mental health, such as African-Caribbean, Latin, Portuguese speaking, Black LGBTQ+ and Asian LGBTQ+ Londoners, to amplify traditionally unheard voices and perspectives on mental health and wellbeing in the capital.

As part of the festival’s programme of events participants were encouraged to record their stories on their mobile phone to discuss their experience of poor mental health and how they overcame this, or have learned to live with it. They were mentored by local community film production facilitators and these films were screened in community spaces on World Mental Health Day.

Elsewhere, Brixton Reel organised a series of screenings from a new range of films from Cannes and other international film festivals featuring diverse young people and children’s experiences, as well as facilitating cabaret, debate, food, and music events.

At City Hall the Mayor’s Peer Outreach team worked with partners to present an amazing day of activities and films that showcased all the fantastic work being done by young people with support from organisations across the city. The day started with a short film festival from midday, followed by an evening of showcase and performances.

Why arts and culture?

The Thrive LDN Culture initiative follows recommendations from an independent report conducted earlier this year which identified opportunities for arts and cultural activities to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Londoners. The report, carried out by Nikki Crane Associates, concluded that whilst arts and culture in London has great potential to support wellbeing, tackle inequalities and engage people from all backgrounds, there remains a disparity of access to arts and culture across London with a lack of joined up activity in this area.