During the past few days as we prepare to participate in the Get Creative Festival, I have been talking to our Deep Down Artists about my creative vision. We are getting ready this week for our Time to Talk Day event in association with Inspire and remembering this time last year when Inspire supported us to create Deep Down Arts and Wellbeing. During the initial consultations with our local community were given a clear message, the NHS is overstretched, the community must pitch in to prevent suicides. I had this in mind when I spoke in Stormont for PPR’s #123GP campaign and then I met with Leigh Stirrup to discuss an impactful film he is making. The message emerging from our artists, Leigh, Eve Williams, Natalie Smith and others is this: Keep Holding On. They understand what it feels like when you think all hope is gone and they are using their art to express solidarity with all those with lived experience. Last week really made an impression on my thinking about Deep Down and about our preparations for Get Creative in May. I think we need a theme and the common theme coming to us from the community, the lived experience artists we are working with and the safe house hosting us (The Ivy Bar) is this – keep holding on. At the weekend Leigh posted ‘ To anyone who has had suicidal thoughts, I am glad you’re still here. Keep holding on.’ This inspired me to redesign our social media pages and to create this post. So from Deep Down to you for 2019, the sentiment is simple; keep holding on.
Paula Matthews, Festival Director.
Creativity: Supporting Mental Health