We are proud to announce Moving Minds, an innovative and immersive conference that explores the mental health and wellbeing of young people through dance.

Developed in partnership with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and led by a youth advisory panel, this conference will be held in person in Glasgow on 4-5 May 2022, and online on Friday 6 May 2022.

Moving Minds will examine how therapeutic dance can help young people look after their wellbeing in the face of a growing mental health crisis.

Attendees – which include healthcare professionals, arts and health specialists and education professionals – will listen to presentations, discuss, and network with other practitioners and take part in movement-based workshops. 

The aim of the workshops is to upskill practitioners who work with movement and mental health and enable them to experience the benefits that young people get from one of Scottish Ballet’s workshops, which will also help improve their own wellbeing. The performances, workshops and presentations will take place throughout Scottish Ballet, Tramway, and the Hidden Gardens, and there will be pop-up, small scale performances at various places in the building. 

The Moving Minds youth advisory panel has been instrumental in developing the programme, and members of the youth panel will speak and lead sessions at the conference. 

The conference will be opened by a performance of a new dance piece by 16 company dancers, and members of the Youth Exchange, which has been commissioned by Scottish Ballet and created by First Artist Madeline Squire. The conference will be a collaborative event with young choreographers from across the UK who will stage their work and participate in discussion panels with contributions from One Dance UK, People Dancing, and the Sonia Sabri Company

Research shows that 10% of children and young people (aged five to 16) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, around three in every class. There are currently almost 12,000 young people waiting to receive support from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and around a quarter are rejected by the service. 

Nearly 2,000 of those have been waiting for over a year. Exploring non-medical interventions which can be prescribed more quickly, should be considered as part of the overall management of mental health problems in young people, as this could reduce pressure on the NHS. 

Social prescribing is an approach that connects people to non-medical sources of support or resources in the community to promote good mental health and is an important tool to help people manage their mental health

There is significant evidence for the benefits of social prescribing in improving symptoms in people with long-term medical conditions, including people experiencing mental health challenges. The Alchemy project, which used dance as a form of early intervention in young people at risk of experiencing psychosis, found that at the end of the programme, the dance programme delivered clinically significant results; the young people who participated had a tenpoint increase in their mental wellbeing according to the WEMWBS (Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scales).

The benefits of arts on health and wellbeing has been acknowledged in the Creative Health report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing. The report found that the arts, including dance, can help people experiencing mental health problems and can save money in health and social care. 

With the significant increase in young people experiencing mental health problems, which has been compounded due to the pandemic and lockdown, long-term strategies are necessary to address this. A recent survey of almost 2,500 young people by the charity Young Minds found that 67% believed that the pandemic will have a long-term negative effect on their mental health. 

Fancy attending Moving Minds?

The Moving Minds Conference is being held in person in Glasgow 4-5 May 2022, and online on Friday 6 May 2022, with tickets starting from £55 per day and early bird booking discounts available. 

The conference features presentations from leading experts in mental health; arts and health and wellbeing; and young people. 

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‘Scottish Ballet is committed to developing strategies and resources to support the mental health of young people through our ground-breaking Safe to Be Me™ programme. The Moving Minds conference gives us the opportunity to learn directly from experienced practitioners and young people about the mental health challenges they face and how dance can help them.’

Catherine Cassidy, Director of Engagement at Scottish Ballet

‘The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) first ever report looking at the evidence for arts and health in 2019 highlights the growing recognition of the importance of the arts to health and wellbeing. I am delighted to be speaking at the Moving Minds conference. Scottish Ballet is driving a leading edge in making the arts an integral part of the promotion of physical, social, and mental wellbeing for people of all ages, including young people.’

Jill Sonke, Research Director, Center for Arts in Medicine at University of Florida

‘The benefits of social prescribing have been well established. With the significant increase in mental health problems among young people, a holistic approach to the management of the mental health of young people is required which includes medical and non-medical interventions. Arts on prescription including dance programmes have been shown to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people.’

Dr David Caesar, Emergency Physician and Senior Strategic Advisor, Scottish Government