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Mental Health Takes Center Stage Down Under

A new arts festival in Australia approaches mental health differently

This fall, the University of New South Wales created a 7-week mental health initiative called The Big Anxiety Festival that united art and science to help address mental health issues. With more than 60 events across the Greater Sydney area, the festival brought together artists, scientists, and the local community to reimagine the way we talk about and treat mental health.

65% of Australians with mental illness don’t receive treatment—a statistic the festival’s organizers seek to change by exploring the potential of art as a form of therapy. “There’s a lot of evidence that art has a lot of impact when it comes to mental health. It’s not just a diversion—there is evidence that it impacts… mood and wellbeing,” says Professor Jill Bennett, the creator of the festival. “Mental health campaigns aren’t stimulating and fun. We are offering something enjoyable to do on a Saturday afternoon.”

Read more about the festival here.