London’s citywide movement to improve mental health and wellbeing, Thrive LDN, has worked in partnership with the Mayor of London’s Peer Outreach Team to takeover City Hall for an all-day young Londoner-led festival to mark World Mental Health Day (WMHD) 2019.
The festival, which took place throughout the public spaces of City Hall on Thursday, 10 October 2019, saw various activities including immersive plays, film screenings, live music performances, creative workshops, and panel discussions.
The festival focused on day-to-day challenges young people in London face, offering a platform for young people to open up conversations on breaking down barriers, building resilience and the importance of having a sense of community. The day is the largest young Londoner-led event the Peer Outreach Team has organised at City Hall.
The festival line-up included young artists, performers and content creators, such as Rakaya Fetuga, winner of the Last Word Festival 2018, and Nego True, author of My History is More Than Slavery. The festival involved 10 interactive workshops to support young people’s wellbeing and mental health. Facilitators ranged from Cephas Williams, founder of The 56 Black Men campaign, to national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.
As part of the festival, The Fandangoe Kid, a Hackney-based print artist will provide an installation spanning the length of City Hall’s public entrance slope (pictured above). The ‘Language is Movement’ artwork tells the story of the relationship between dancing and mental health, and in particular how movement can be used as a tool to support young people’s wellbeing.
The initiative follows research that participation in creative arts and culture has been shown to improve mental health and wellbeing. This aligns with the recent publication of the Survey of Londoners, published by City Hall, which highlighted that participation in culture events, such as going to the cinema, visiting museums and galleries, or going to theatre or live music concerts, had a positive association on belonging, life satisfaction and loneliness.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The wellbeing of young Londoners is vital if we are to build a healthy and successful future for our capital. I want London to be a city where everyone can speak openly about mental health and the right support is there when needed, so I’m delighted that young Londoners have led the way in creating this fantastic event on World Mental Health Day. It’s a great opportunity to share experiences, learn from each other and discover more about the support available in an entertaining and educational way.”
Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE, Thrive LDN Co-Lead: “Increasingly young people around the world are coming together to voice their concern and take collective action to address some of the world’s biggest challenges, and London is no different. Whilst there is much more for us to achieve, the festival provides an opportunity to celebrate the individual achievements and collective efforts of young Londoners to make our city a better place to live and work.”
Philip Glanville, the Mayor of Hackney and co-lead of Thrive LDN, said: “This is a great example of a partnership approach to support children and young people and provides a positive step in raising awareness of the impact of inequality on young Londoners’ mental health. This event is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the amazing talent from young people in London, in addition to addressing challenges that are affecting young Londoners.”
Priscila Hernandez, youth engagement lead for Thrive LDN, said: “The festival will create an opportunity to tackle the stigma around mental health for young people and opens up conversations on breaking down barriers, building resilience and the importance of having a sense of community. It is important to invest in young people as they are the future leaders, creators, and revolutionaries of this world.”