ARTISTS, musicians and health experts came together last month to present RISE - Arts and Mental Health Symposium.

The event at Heart of Hawick allowed local and national speakers to share current thinking and showcased best practice.

The one-day event brought together artists, health and social care professionals, and third sector organisations from the Borders and across Scotland to explore the positive contribution that arts and creativity can make to people’s lives.

And it comes on the back of the Creative Arts Business Network recently teaming up with NHS Borders and Scottish Borders Council to mark Mental Health Awareness Week.

Live Borders creative communities manager Lisa Denham helped organise the Symposium. She said: "We are keen to enable a more joined-up and collaborative approach to supporting health and wellbeing through innovative projects and partnerships with a range of arts organisations and practitioners.

"Whether doing something creative, attending an evening of song and dance or even making a film exploring depression, these activities can all help develop an understanding of how taking part in cultural experiences can support individuals, as well as the health and wellbeing of the wider community.”

Live music was provided by teenager Millie Hanlon Cole in the Heart of Hawick Auditorium.

Clare De Bolle from YouthBorders, Tom Swift of VOMO and Niall Campbell and Catrina Barquist from Borders College all delivered presentations on young people’s emotional health and creativity.

Also providing information and inspiration on the day was Kevin Harrison from Artlink Central, Siobhan McConnachie from the National Galleries of Scotland and artists Sushiela Jamieson and Sharon Quigley.

Allyson McCollam, associate director of Public Health who led the panel discussion at the event, added: “The programme was really imaginative and varied and it was fantastic to have such a range of people there and so much information sharing and networking.

"The symposium laid the foundations for future collaboration on mental health and the arts. I am delighted that we have started the process of the Borders being involved in the Scottish Arts and Mental Health Festival.

“Research has shown the beneficial impact that the arts and creativity can have on mental health and wellbeing and we are already making plans to build on this for the future.”