As part of our 10-year commitment to Moston and Harpurhey we have launched SICK! Mental Health Arts Programme (SMASH) a creative social prescribing project offering a range of creative, innovative experiences designed to:

  • Help improve how participants feel
  • Increase their understanding of mental health and illness
  • Enable them to meet and share their thoughts with others who are facing similar experiences
  • Increase confidence in talking about their experiences
  • Provide new creative tools for exploring and expressing mental health experiences

We have developed a menu of activities and invite participants to create their own programme to reflect their own experiences, interests and the level of engagement with which they are comfortable. No prior knowledge or experience of the arts is required.


EXPLORE: A guided programme of creative walks will use photography and creative writing to encourage people to look differently at their environment. Participants will explore the ways in which their environment affects their mental health, exercising whilst connecting with people from their neighbourhood with similar experiences. The photographs developed as part of this programme will be presented at an exhibition in the community.



CREATE: Leading professional artists will lead creative workshops in different art forms including visual arts, poetry, music and performance. Drawing on their own artistic practices and mental health experiences, they will offer new ways of exploring and expressing mental health experiences. Sessions will be structured to enable participants to engage in ways that suit their own feelings, needs and wishes.

TALK: A series of facilitated group conversations with professional artists will explore their work, the challenges they have faced and their approaches to managing their own mental health and wellbeing. This will provide a starting point for participants to share their own experiences.

SEE & HEAR: We invite you to attend a series of trips to cultural events, performances and exhibitions to experience artistic works that explore aspects of mental health, illness and well-being. These will be followed by a facilitated group conversation about what you have seen.


Applications are taken on a rolling basis. If you are interested in taking part in the scheme, please email: Steve Vickers: steve@sickfestival.com


No 93 Wellbeing Centre

Crisis Cafe Team

Community Inclusion, Resettlement & Linkworker Services

Manchester Psychological Therapies (North)

Be Well – Harpurhey

Be Well – Moston

Healthy Me Health Communities


Manchester City Council

Peter Sowerby Foundation

Oglesby Charitable Trust

Image Credit: Tiitu Takalo, as part of Graphic Encounters