With staff and service user led projects, Birchwood Highland seek to promote mental health recovery and awareness by engaging the wider community with the work we do through events, gatherings, exhibitions and publications. This page shows some of our past projects.
The launch of Birchwood Highland's first ever charity single, including Iain McLaughlin of IMOUT Studios and Steve Robertson from Music is Life took place on Friday 16th March at The Tooth & Claw, Inverness.
A handful of people have been working over the last few months to produce a charity single through the Music is Life Scotland project.
The single titled “The Long Winding Road (Through the Seasons)” was put together by concepts suggested by residents at the Recovery Centre, including the idea of writing about how the changing seasons made them feel. The artwork for the single is also an original piece produced by residents. Steve Robertson – a Birchwood Highland Ambassador – said:
“It was an amazing experience to meet on a regular basis and to see the single come together. The residents from the Recovery Centre had some fantastic ideas and it was great to help pull everything together.”
The single was written by Inverness singer/songwriter Steven Barclay and produced and arranged by Iain McLaughlin at IMOUT Studios in Inverness. Released on Friday 16th March the single is available via iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, and all proceeds will go towards helping support Birchwood Highland’s vital work.
Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival
We are involved in the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival in Inverness every year, submitting films and artwork. Below are two films produced by Birchwood Highland that aim to raise awareness about mental health.
Reclaim The Future: A Mentally Healthy World
My World, My Mental Health: What Works For Me
Birchwood's Big Heart at Belladrum
We had a fantastic time at this year's Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival showcasing the Birchwood Highland's Big Belladrum Heart. Festival-goers showed their support for the project by attaching lovelocks and cloots to the structure, playing their part in creating the biggest public artwork the Highlands has seen for years.
We gathered the hopes, dreams, loves and wishes of the Highlands at Belladrum, all in aid of Birchwood Highland's work around the region and to help us stamp out the stigma associated with mental ill health, something 1 in 4 of us will experience this year alone.
This new project has a focus on empowering migrants and refugees to speak out and seek support. Building on the findings from Birchwood Highland's 'Migrant Matters' research, this project will seek to fulfil the need for support services to be enduring, community based and community led. Find out more about this project on our Aspiring Communities page.
Let's Walk a Mile
Let's Walk a Mile highlights mental health stigma in the Highands. Birchwood Highland organised a walk with help from See Me Scotland and creator of Let's Walk a Mile, Chris Young, who is walking around the UK and having conversations with people to break down mental health stigma. Here's a video from our 2016 walk.
Music is Life
This project was led by Birchwood Highland Ambassador, Steve Robertson, who ran a series of workshops that guided service users through setting up a night of live music at Hootananny's in Inverness. This event raised funds for the charity, increased awareness of the importance of mental health, and gave service users the opportunity to learn new skills and engage with the local creative community and music scene.
Can You See Me?
Birchwood Highland received a grant from 'see me', Scotland's national campaign to end the stigma of mental ill-health, which was used to create an innovative project to raise public awareness and help reduce stigma, and involve our service users in a creative process. We wanted to let everyone know how damaging and disabling negative attitudes can be, and how empowering and inspiring positive attitudes are in people's recovery journeys.
Zenwing Puppets and Irisaria Films developed, staged and filmed a puppet show of people's stories portraying what helped and hindered their recovery. They developed a programme of workshops for people to make their own puppets and tell their own stories. The workshops alone have been very therapeutic, with people coming together and sharing their experiences. They found new friends and the buzz in the workshops was amazing.
The resulting film is called Can You See Me? It was first shown at Eden Court, Inverness, on 6th October 2010 as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival.
Two DVDs are now available, which we will use as a training and awareness raising resource. Already they have been screened in schools in Highland. Film 1 (28 mins) is about the workshop process and the people involved, and how stories took shape. Film 2 (34 mins) shows their performances.
The DVDs cost £5 each plus £1.96 postage and can be purchased separately or as a pair. To order a copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Age in Mind
The Age in Mind Project was created by the Scottish Mental Health Cooperative to consider issues of stigma and discrimination in relation to people over 50, who were or had been mental health service users. Funded by, and working with See Me - the national anti-stigma and discrimination programme as a core partner, the action research project was based around developing four change networks in Scotland, of which 50 percent of participants should be people with lived mental health experience, 50 years and over, and who would become catalysts for change.
A book showcasing artwork, poems, and photography showcasing the creative talents of Birchwood Highland service users and HUG members. Artistic expression can be a very healing tool on the journey of recovery, and with the help of funding from See Me Scotland, we were able to produce this book. To view the PDF, please click the image below.
A short film exploring the concept of Reality. This film was shown at Eden Court as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival.
BBC Alba Documentary
Birchwood Highland were featured on a documentary about the progression from mental health institutions to a more community-based system of care. Several members of staff were interviewed who worked through the transition.