The freedom of mind festival in Bristol focuses on different events to help people who suffer from mental health issues. It ran from 6th – 14th of October.
The festival’s objective is to raise awareness on mental problems as well as bring people together. The fact is that mental health can affect every one, young and old.
Alla Marshall is the founder of Freedom of Mind in Bristol. During the interview, she talked about her own struggle when she suffered from depression, which was not easy for her life as a student. She couldn’t understand anything, due to feeling so low, and it made her extremely miserable, with all meaning in life taken away from her. After seeking help from various mental health professionals, it opened her mind to doing different things as well as talking to somebody. Aged only 16, Alla decided, with the contribution of other students from the University of the West of England and other universities, to come together with the idea of running and launching the Festival of Freedom of Mind in Bristol.
Actually, the Freedom of Mind is run entirely by volunteers who are almost all students who have personal experience of mental health issues. It has also had the support of the Bristol city Mayor, Marvin Rees, as well as other local politicians and charities like the Samaritans.
Examples of events included Man up/ Man Down, this was specially targeted at men, because it has been found that men are shy to express their feelings, either positive or negative. Also the mental health statistics have shown that men are more likely than women to end their life.
Moreover, many people who attended the Festival gave positive and encouraging feedback on how Freedom of Mind had helped them to overcome negative thoughts and feelings. It involved many different groups from a range of backgrounds.
In the future the organisers want to build on the previous year and this year’s success. They are hoping to expand the Festival to London, in order to attract and help more people suffering from mental health disorders.