Love Arts Festival: These events in Leeds are raising awareness of mental health

It's a ten-day takeover that sees venues across the city stylishly transformed in an effort to raise awareness and dispel myths surrounding mental health.

And Leeds’ Love Arts Festival returned as aspiring artists, NHS staff, patients and festival organisers gathered at the St John’s Centre yesterday (Thursday) to launch it for the eighth time.

From exhibition displays and pop-up music performances to creative and interactive workshops, the festival’s launch at the venue, off Dortmund Square, marked the first in a series of events which aim to tackle mental health stigma.

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Its re-emergence in the city centre this year arrives as the YEP is also campaigning to break down stigma surrounding mental health issues in Leeds, as part of our #SpeakYourMind campaign.The festival is organised by the Arts and Minds Network, a partnership project of Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which aims to use the arts to promote mental wellbeing.

Alison McIntyre admires work at the Leeds Love Arts Festival launch at the St John's Centre, in Leeds city centre. Picture: James Hardisty.

Mental health: An open letter to Leeds’ young peopleLinda Boyles, Arts and Minds development manager, said: “We never imagined when we started the festival eight years ago, that it would grow to be such a well-loved and anticipated feature of Leeds cultural calendar.

“Love Arts has helped chip away at the stigma of mental illness, by showcasing a wealth of undiscovered talent, and demonstrating how creativity can help people recover.”

Spanning the city, Love Arts will see various different venues transformed until October 13, including the likes of The Tetley and Leeds City Museum.

Alongside the message from organisers to fight mental health stigma, the festival is also encouraging people to think about their own wellbeing generally.

‘Tell a mate’ about Leeds’ mental health advice websiteMs Boyles added: “We are thrilled to be celebrating the festival’s eighth anniversary, and are looking forward to the people of Leeds joining with us to celebrate.”

Where are when are the Love Arts Festival events

Chapel FM’s Arts Centre, in York Road, will tomorrow (Saturday) host a Love Theatre theatrical show inspired by discussions about mental health among young people, from 2pm.

Elsewhere, local novelist Mark Connors is holding a Mental Health and Me talk, at Hyde Park Book Club, in Headingley Lane, to discuss his books and answer questions, from 12.30pm on Sunday.

And on Monday, people can take part in a Moving Poetry workshop, exploring physical, emotional and conceptual connections, at Artlink West Yorkshrie, in Belle Vue Road, from 1pm.

For a full line-up of the festival’s events, visit