IT AFFECTS ME: I AM NORMAL Mental Health Arts Festival
Most of us have experienced mental health issues at some point in our lives. For some, it's triggered by some cataclysmic, life-altering event. For others, it’s a creeping darkness, a shadow that has cast a dark swathe of our existence for as long as we can remember. We all know it, the familiar crushing weight, the depth of despair.
But how many of us know it's normal? No, mental ill health doesn't make you weird. They don't even make you unique. Because did you know that 1 in 10 young people aged 5 - 16 suffer from mental ill health? That's around 80,000 young people in the UK and equates to three children in every school classroom, currently struggling, self-harming and even committing suicide because they believe they are abnormal.
So why aren't we talking about it? Why is it still taboo? We believe that the change starts with grassroots youth designed education programs, which include providing support and creative outlets for young people through the arts.
That's why we have created our IT AFFECTS ME: I AM NORMAL mental health art festival. It’s a youth-led festival created to give young people a voice and a chance to realise they are not alone, struggling with mental ill issues is normal, and they don't have to struggle alone. The festival has been designed with young people from NCS: The Challenge and features a speaker and young champion from Time To Change.
As our patron, Michael Attenborough CBE, so wonderfully said:
"Nothing is better placed to give young people a sense of identity, confidence, and self-worth than participation in the arts and no art form better than drama to explore safely the crucial, but largely ignored arena of mental health. A lethally taboo subject that all too often leaves young people with nothing but shame and fear".