Creative Freedom was established in 2018 to change the conversation about mental health in the cultural sector.
In the cultural industries, the troubled genius has been part of the narrative throughout history. From Vincent Van Gogh to Sylvia Plath, creativity and mental illness have been intrinsically linked. Despite this, the sector has struggled to develop a proactive response that supports those at risk of mental ill health, whether they work in front of or behind the scenes.
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.
We have developed a manifesto for mental health in conversation with people 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 a Mental Health First Aider in every creative workplace in the UK.
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.
Creative Freedom is 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. Training covers a wide range of mental health conditions and could give organisations the skills and knowledge to implement the manifesto. We deliver whole-organisation training as well as training days where individuals can join a small group of peers to learn together.