Covid-19 response

Mental health at heart of online initiative

Wellbeing during lockdown is the focus of a new project launched by a group of Edinburgh students.

The PosiFest initiative offers interactive online activities that approach mental wellbeing in an informal, proactive and positive way.

Issues addressed by the project include loneliness, self-esteem and how best to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

PosiFest is being organised by postgraduate students in the University’s School for Health in Social Science.

Participants share insights on coping skills and life enhancement through a series of interactive events including music, discussion and dance.

PosiFest Director Shalhavit-Sincha Cohen said: “PosiFest has created a community where we buddy up and explore themes such as shared compassion, togetherness, vulnerability and what we can do to improve the well-being of people around the world.”

Positive outlook

Organisers had been due to launch as a series of physical events prior to the pandemic but, in the wake of lockdown, opted to move events online rather than cancel them.

Shalhavit said: “We had already put in endless hours of work and organised an incredible line-up of performers, speakers and comedians willing to share their take on mental health and community building."

“PosiFest came into being to provide a space where people could celebrate resilience and, during this current time of crisis, that’s needed more than ever.”

Online events

The initial online event on 28 March featured 15 hours of online entertainment and discussion. It included music, comedy, body positive yoga and poetry as well as sessions with resilience coaches and artists focusing on mental health. The event received more than 11,000 views.

Cameron Murdoch, a creative resilience coach and PosiFest performer, said: “PosiFest embodies all that is best in humanity. It brings together a compassionate community and links it with a vibrant mix of things that create joy in our lives, as well as celebrating the challenges we face on our paths.

“PosiFest absorbs physical, mental and spiritual well-being into its core, emanating a great light that fuels body, mind and soul. I feel honoured to be part of this amazing team that is changing the world, one person at a time.”

Against the odds 

PosiFest's online audience is growing, attracting students, artists, creators and professionals from diverse backgrounds. The group promotes its events and activities through its Facebook page and there have been 75,000 social media interactions in the last month alone.

"We feel we have made it a success against the odds,” said Shalhavit. “It is incredible to witness how much growth each of us has been gaining from this experience – especially now in isolation, knowing that we are not only helping ourselves, but also supporting kindred spirits around the world".

"We are now building further, bringing daily content live on Facebook every night at 7pm, with more performers, presenters and interviews to keep promoting mental health and wellbeing.”  

Related Links

PosiFest Facebook

PosiFest website