The concept of the NOW Festival came from a desire to engage young people in creative discussions around the topic of mental health. For many, creative arts are a way to express and challenge opinion concerning the things that matter most to society.
With an estimated one in four people now experiencing some form of mental distress during their lifetime, Liverpool CAMHS partner, the Merseyside Youth Association RAISE team created the NOW festival to provide a platform from which to raise awareness, challenge stigma and explore ways of building resilience and improving mental health.
Under the guidance and support of guest artists; Darren Suarez; Paul Furlong, Maurice Bessman; and Carl Cockram as well as members of the RAISE team, children, young people and the staff from local schools develop a range of dramatic performances – which are then performed during the festival in the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool. The first NOW festival in 2016, which focused on the theme – ‘Mental Health and Technology – Friends of Enemies’ was a huge success.
This year’s festival, which took place during National Children’s Mental Health Week – 6-12th February, featured performances from nearly 200 young people of Liverpool telling stories relating to the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Read more about this year’s festival here.