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About Creative Freedom

Creative Freedom was established in 2018 to change the conversation about mental health in the cultural sector 

We are one of the only organisations in the UK offering MHFA training targeted specifically at the creative and cultural sectors, led by those with direct experience of working in the sector.  We deliver whole-organisation training as well as training days where individuals can join a small group of peers to learn together.

A 2015 survey by ‘Arts Minds’ uncovered the scale of mental ill health across the sector.  Of the 5000-plus people who responded, over 20% said mental health problems had impacted on their career to a greater or lesser extent. Whilst physical first aid is mandatory in UK workplaces, training on how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill-health is seriously lacking. We think this is wrong.

We have developed a manifesto for mental health in the arts, cultural and creative sectors and have launched a simple framework for organisations that want to seize the initiative and take positive action.  At the centre of the manifesto is a commitment to providing wellbeing support and training, and a Mental Health First Aider in every creative workplace in the UK.  


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Colin Beesting

Founder and trainer

Colin founded Creative Freedom having recognised the need for a more open conversation about mental health in the cultural sector.

He was a director at Arts Council England and the BFI before moving on to working in healthcare and the NHS.

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Chris Lewis


Chris is a choral singer, performer, coach and advocate. She also

brings the unique insight built through working in the police for

30 years. She is a trained crisis counsellor and continues to work in the criminal justice system.

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