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Published 14 May 2021

West Dunbartonshire is playing a starring role in a nationwide arts festival designed to promote good mental health.

An exciting collaboration between West Dunbartonshire Health & Social Care Partnership’s Work Connect service, partner organisations and local artists Paul Murdoch and Sarah Jayne McGlashan has created a portfolio of creative work and online events.

They are featured in the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival, running from 3-23rd May.

It is the first time in 15 years that West Dunbartonshire has been represented in the national festival programme.

Among the highlights is a documentary entitled ‘Picture Normality’ which was filmed around Dumbarton’s Levengrove Park, which can be viewed here https://www.mhfestival.com/events/54-west-dunbartonshire/706-picture-normality

The film features a number of Work Connect service users exploring the notion of what is normality in the wake of a life-changing pandemic.

Paul Murdoch, creator of the documentary, explained: “It’s a mixture of raw emotions, great achievements and people - workers and service users - finding that they could do things they didn’t expect.
“Whether it was moving on to a better place, writing, art or music, the people in the film literally made the film what it is - an honest look at what people can do to stay grounded, indeed, rise up above normality in very strange times.”

The documentary’s premiere was attended by Sylvia Chatfield, Head of Mental Health, Learning Disability and Addictions for West Dunbartonshire HSCP, who hailed the emotionally charged work.

She said: “The documentary is a stylish piece that beautifully captures our service users expressing their emotions, thoughts, hopes and resilience through not only a global pandemic but also personal life challenges.

“It is to be commended and it shows how much of a positive impact the service has made in people’s lives.”

Sylvia also experienced the outdoor Personal Sensory Area within Levengrove Park and heard about further plans for the space with Gardener Employment Support Worker Tam Hall.

This year’s festival  -  led by The Mental Health Foundation with support by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and The List Magazine - explores the theme of ‘Normality’, inspired by a wave of media stories referring to what is normal in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

It is also made possible by hundreds of arts, community and public organisations plus individual artists and activities across Scotland. To see the National programme of events visit www.mhfestival.com