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Festival aims to transform how we talk about mental health

A groundbreaking positive psychology festival taking place on 5 March says it aims to change the way we talk about mental health around the world.

PosiFest: The Festival of Positive Psychology will bring live music, performances, talks, art and games to The Pear Tree pub in Edinburgh from noon until midnight. The festival will also be hosted online.

The line-up has been designed to share the science and principles behind positive psychology, which is based on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives and to cultivate what is best within themselves.

Organisers say the festival will provide tools, techniques and perspectives that can help people in their own lives, as well as enable them to support friends or family who may be struggling with mental health issues.

Speakers include Professor Matthias Schwannauer at the University of Edinburgh and Dr Tal Ben-Shahar from Harvard University.

The first ever PosiFest took place as the pandemic hit in 2020, with more than 11,000 participants attending online. The festival is the brainchild of Shalhavit Simcha-Cohen, a PhD researcher at the University of Edinburgh, who created PosiFest as an alternative to public mental health currently on offer.

Shalhavit said: “Most public mental health resources are only available to people in crisis, and even those remain largely inaccessible because they don’t engage people in the ways they like to be engaged.

“PosiFest is changing that. We’re a real festival: it’s fun! You’re connecting with people, celebrating, playing together, and at the same time you’re picking up new life skills, tools and perspectives–backed by science–to help you make your world a more positive place.”

To claim your free ticket, visit

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