A creative response to the mental health crisis: The Big Anxiety Festival will return to Melbourne in September

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A creative response to the mental health crisis: The Big Anxiety Festival will return to Melbourne in September

The Big Anxiety Festival

The Big Anxiety Festival repositions mental health as a collective community-based cultural responsibility – beyond a narrow medical or clinical model.

According to The Black Dog Institute, almost half of Australian adults will experience some form of mental health illness in their lifetime, with anxiety being the most common mental health condition in Australia. With The Big Anxiety Festival coinciding with Melbourne Mental Health Month this year, the need for a creative and cultural approach to the mental health crisis has never been greater. 

What you need to know

  • The Big Anxiety Festival is returning this year
  • It coincides with Melbourne Mental Health Month, taking place from September 21 until October 15
  • Its a cultural festival that seeks to provide a range of creative innovations for mental health support

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

There’s tons of different events all taking place over the course of the festival – including The Big Anxiety Forum, which will bring together artists, researchers and health workers to learn from each other. RMIT University’s gallery spaces will exhibit Archives of Feeling, a series of innovative group and individual works that record and communicate different dimensions of trauma experiences and recovery. 


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Also on the program for this year’s festival is the interactive project Children’s Sensorium, a space for young people to explore their senses, feelings, thoughts, worries and hopes. Also, the 2021 Australian Mental Health Prize recipient, Honor Eastly will premiere her performance memoir No Feeling is Final. Later in the month, Awkward Conversations is a one-on-one conversation program to discuss challenging topics about mental health. 

“The arts are the best means we have for sharing complex experiences. It is a pathway that can show us what we may not know about ourselves and others, and it also shines a light on relationships and social settings that help or hinder mental health. We have seen evidence that the arts can make real and meaningful transformations and change,” said Scientia Professor Bennett. 

Find out more by heading here.