‘The world’s biggest ever suicide and wellness conference and concert’ is coming to the Midlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The world’s biggest suicide and wellness conference is coming to the Midlands. Leicester Haymarket will be hosting its first Festival of Life and Death on September 8, 2018. It aims to offer support, education and a chance to celebrate life, death, mental health and well-being in the UK.

“Everywhere you go in the country, and the world for that matter, there are so many people affected by mental health and the whole range of subjects that the festival of life seeks to embrace, promote, publicise and celebrate,” says Alan Chapman, who’s organising the event.

The lack of conversation about mental health, well-being and suicide highlights the importance of an event like this. By encouraging people to talk, the Festival of Life and Death hopes to have a big impact and help the move towards more open discussion and ultimately, more accessible education on mental health and the support available.

“There are too many people who are ill and dying unnecessarily from bad mental health in every part of society and every part of the world,” says Chapman, “the bigger, deeper answer is that there’s something going wrong with the way that human beings live and it’s getting worse every year”.

Covering controversial and taboo subjects such as suicide, death and bereavement the event hopes to influence a change and offer more help. Suicide can be the result of a variety of mental health issues. By raising awareness of all of these causes and the ways to improve mental well-being the event hopes to help lower the statistics.

The festival hopes to engage with anyone who may have an interest in mental health and well-being, whatever their reason. It has the potential to connect those affected by mental health with services that can provide the right help, as well as with the corporate sector.

There are calls for other cities to join the event or even host their own festival, preferably on the same day. “All I can do is put it out there and hope that we get sufficient publicity.” Chapman hopes a successful event in Leicester will “inspire other people to want to do the same.”

“The launch aims to get the ball rolling and start the publicity, so just like you throw a pebble in a still pond, we want the launch to be as big a rock as we can create”. The event is set to include talks, poetry, live music and a Q&A, as well as a number of live guests including Peter Hirst, the founder of ‘Rethinkyourmind’ and Lydia Towsey, a performance poet.

According to Chapman, “there are some amazing people coming to the launch to speak and to perform who are already working in their own incredible ways to address the same thing that I’m addressing and so we connect with them and through them and we hope to make a big impact”.

“Of course the subject’s heavy but I don’t think the event will be heavy, it will be beautiful,” says Mellow Baku, member of Look A Lady Ukelele, who will be performing at the launch event on November 8 2017. “It will be filtered through poetry and expression.”

Not just for those keen to learn more, volunteers from the Samaritans will be at the event offering support to those who need it. “I’ve connected with so many people in the last couple of years who are affected on a very personal level and many of those people want to come along to the launch at a personal level because they want to be among people who get it,” Chapman explains.

Anyone interested in participating in the Festival of Life and Death is encouraged to attend the launch event on November 8, 2017 at LCB Depot. This includes attendees, performers, services and anyone wishing to speak at the festival.

More information about the event can be found here: https://festivaloflifeanddeath.org/

If you’re interested in attending the launch on November 8 2017 6-8pm, register by email: info@festivaloflifeanddeath.org

Steph Lowe

 

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