Mental health prejudice challenged at First Fortnight Festival events

THE First Fortnight Mental Health Art & Culture Festival is underway, welcoming participants and contributors from across Ireland including Boyzone star Mikey Graham both online and in person.

In its 11th year with the theme of ‘Open’, the Irish charity-based organisation aims to challenge typical mental health prejudice through the creative arts and continues until 16 with 50 events for adults and children submitted from 11 counties in the country.

The Festival in January has become synonymous with mental health awareness, aiming to end the associated stigma through the arts and cultural action.

“Society has a renewed appreciation for cultural activities following a period of time where our access to the arts was restricted,” said First Fortnight chief operating officer Maria Fleming, a passionate social justice campaigner and volunteer advocacy champion with the Irish Cancer Society. “At the same time we have all experienced enormous challenges to our mental and physical wellbeing.”

Among the collection of new events to the Festival is the panel discussion exploring ‘What if Britney Spears Was Irish?’ which will open up conversation about the Irish version of Conservatorship and the historic changes to occur in 2022. Booking is available for online events at while seating at in person events is available in a limited capacity.

Added Maria Fleming: “I believe First Fortnight is perfectly poised to bring an understanding and healing too all we have been through as we once again embrace live performance and strengthen our human connections.”


Tags: Arts & Culture Wellbeing First Fortnight

Image credits: First Fortnight


Kim Mullahey

Kim Mullahey is’s Ireland Correspondent. She holds an honours undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Chicago and has taught Adult Education Creative Writing Studies. Through a media career spanning nearly 25 years Kim has written and photographed regional news, national and international horse sports, fashion and lifestyle. Kim lives with her husband and son in Kildare Ireland, and a stray marmalade cat who has adopted the family.

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