First Fortnight, a festival which aims to challenge the stigma and prejudices of mental health commenced last week; and better still there’s even more to come next week. Now in it’s tenth year, First Fortnight; like some many others over the past year has been forced to hold many of its events online. This however has not prevented them from offering a programme of events as bold and as daring as ever.

Happening in all four corners of Ireland, with events taking place in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Letterkenny and Galway, First Fortnight Festival has a number of events over the two weeks to make you think twice about what it means to have a mental health issue. Among the many and varied events taking place are Therepy Sessions, a line-up of performances from musicians, Daoiri Farrell, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sinead White, along with the Baroque Folk of Lemoncello, also for the delectation of the audience are the powerful spoken-word stylings of writer and performer Chiamaku Enyi-Amadi as well as actor and performer Roxanna Nic Liam. On Sunday night the Duncairn arts centre in Belfast was the venue for two award winning poets Alice McCoullogh and Elizabeth McGeown, experiemental folk artist Joshua Burnside, music from eclectic po/rnb artist Gemma Bradley and the multi-talented musician, author and performer Tony Wright.

Fear not however as there is still much more to see and hear in the coming week. Jung: Symbols and Songs of the Soul, a performance which consists of music from internationally renounded musicians John Feeley and Eleanor Shanley set to a presentation of the works of Karl Jong presented by Brendan Harding, a renowned phycologist and surgeon, with a particular focus and reference to the importance of symbols and their transforming aspect.

Wednesday 13th January sees Journalist and Broadcaster host an evening where artists discuss how they manage to navigate issues surrounding anxiety throughout their careers, showing how they get past the anxiety to produce various forms within the arts.

Sunday 17th January sees a transatlantic performance of songs form ten musicians who will also discuss their work and the importance of particular songs that have helped them through personally challenging times.

These events however are just a small sample of the abundance on offer during First Fortnight. For information of these events and many more not mentioned in this article visit www. firstfortnight.ie where you can find full details of all the events taking place this year.