The countdown is on for The Big Anxiety, which begins in Melbourne on 21 September.
The event, which runs until 15 October, includes art, forums, speakers, poetry and more, and aims to reposition mental health as a collective, cultural responsibility, rather than simply a medical issue.
The Big Anxiety is an initiative of UNSW and has previously been held in Sydney and Brisbane. The Melbourne event is organised jointly with RMIT University.
Given the scale of mental health issues in the community – and the high proportion of people affected who do not reach out for help – organisers say there is a need for innovative people-focused, design thinking, and solutions that go beyond the narrow realm of clinical practice or “awareness raising”.
“We need creative, trauma-informed ways to connect with people facing challenges – often linked to catastrophic events – within their communities.
“This means working together, combining insights and expertise from lived experience, arts, science, health and community practice.
“It also means privileging and learning from First Nations cultures, which have always understood the inexorable links between arts, culture and health.”
Jill Bennett and Renata Kokanović, co-directors of The Big Anxiety Naarm, say: “At Storey Hall in Melbourne we are presenting our second two-day forum at the heart of a program of events and exhibitions that includes an exciting range of artists and creative thinkers.
“The Naarm program has been developed with a wonderful set of partners ranging from JOLT to Yarra Ranges cultural venues to an amazing cross-disciplinary team at RMIT.”