Mental Wealth Festival

Mental Wealth Festival 2020

The Mental Wealth Festival 2020 took place in an online format from 5 – 10 October, coinciding with World Mental Health Day on 10 October. The theme for 2020 was Recovery and offered inspiring discussions, debates and interactive workshops focusing on the journey of recovery, resilience, and healing, sharing tools and strategies to support this. 

A big thank you to our partners in 2020 who helped highlight the importance of community and support networks in this process.

For event enquiries please email 

Mental Wealth Festival 2020 Schedule

  • Panel Discussions

    Recordings of this year's panel discussions. Topics included; Anxiety, Dyslexia, Mental Health in the Workplace, Mental Health in the Black Deaf Community, Creative Arts and Mental Health, Learning Disability, Illness, Death and Duing during the pandemic and more...

  • Thought of the day

    For this year's Mental Wealth Festival we have invited our panel speakers and partners to contribute a 'thought of the day'...

  • Performances & Podcasts

    Bringing you a selection of Performances and Podcasts with thanks to our brilliant partners; Deafinitely Theatre, Headtalks,  Move Beyond Words and the Royal Association for Deaf People.


  • Mental Health Toolkit

    The Mental Wealth Festival is a time to reflect on how we stay well mentally and emotionally. Key to that is building resilience to enable us to cope with whatever life throws at us. Here's some tips on how to sooth your stress and invest in your mental wealth from City Lit lead counsellor and psychotherapist Karen Dempsey.

Our partners 2020

  • The National Gallery

    Founded in 1824, The National Gallery houses one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world, with over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900 with works by artists including Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Turner.  

  • The British Museum

    The British Museum’s remarkable collection spans over two million years of human history and culture. Over 6 million visitors every year experience the collection, including world-famous objects such as the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures, and Egyptian mummies.

  • Move Beyond Words

    Elizabeth Arifien and Charlotte Edmonds' company ‘Move Beyond Words’ aims to create artistic environments to amplify the voices of professional artists with dyslexia, Their work is intended to create conversations challenging the negative connotations surrounding dyslexia and support dyslexic artists.

  • Beyond Words

    Beyond Words provides books and training to support people who find pictures easier to understand than words. Whether supporting somebody with a learning disability or communication difficulty, our products empower people through pictures. 

  • Headtalks

    Head Talks aims to provide you with knowledge, inspiration and a sense of community so you can create your own toolbox to fix and maintain mental health. We are all unique and find our inspiration and sense of wellbeing from many different sources. 

  • Deafinitely Theatre

    Deafinitely Theatre are the first deaf launched and deaf led professional theatre company in the uk producing quality bilingual theatre in british sign language and spoken english. 

  • Mad World

    MAD World stands for Make A Difference. Taking place on 8 October, just before World Mental Health Day, the MAD World Summit is the global go-to online event for employers who want to make a difference to workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing. 

  • South London and Maudsley & Bethlem Hospital

    Bethlem Hospital's aim is to be a leader in improving health and wellbeing – locally, nationally and globally. There are very few organisations in the world that have such wide-ranging capabilities working with mental illness.

  • Brixton Finishing School

    Brixton Finishing School creates award-winning programmes that help young people break into the creative, advertising, and marketing industries.

  • RAD

    Founded in 1841, the Royal Association for Deaf people (RAD) provides services to Deaf people in their first language, usually British Sign Language (BSL) and supports mainstream providers to be more accessible to Deaf people.

  • Thrive London

    Thrive LDN is a citywide movement to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all Londoners. It is supported by the Mayor of London and led by the London Health Board partners.

  • Frazzled Cafe

    Founded by City Lit Fellow Ruby Wax OBE, Frazzled Cafe meetings provide a ‘talk-in’ place where people who are feeling frazzled can meet fortnightly to talk and share their personal stories in a safe, anonymous and non-judgmental environment - a place where it's ok, to not be ok.


City Lit is the leading adult education college in Europe. We welcome over 32,000 students every year, offering over 6,000 courses and our work helps Londoners from every walk of life.  In particular, we provide unique educational opportunities for: the Deaf and hard of hearing communities; support for adult stammerers; adults with severe learning difficulties; and outreach for disadvantaged communities across the Capital.  Founded in 1919, City Lit has adapted and innovated to meet London’s changing needs, providing more than just adult education courses – we help improve confidence; combat loneliness and isolation; develop new skills to improve employability; retool those ready for a career change; help individuals manage their mental health difficulties; and generally make London a better place.  

As part of our activity, we strongly advocate for the benefits of lifelong learning as a way to support and promote positive mental health and well-being through the Mental Wealth Festival.  

The Mental Wealth Festival is a week of events and experiences which celebrate and promote activities, projects, ideas and tools which restore, support and enhance positive mental health.  The Festival aims to highlight the way mental health issues impact on so many aspects of daily life, and how the arts, politics, culture, faith and the media can support our ‘mental wealth’.   We bring together professionals and key stakeholders to discuss mental health issues, providing a forum for informative, challenging and inspiring discussions and workshops exploring mental health issues.

Whilst not shying away from addressing the problems in society that contribute to mental ill health, the festival focusses on the solutions and positive outcomes of mental wellbeing. It also provides an open forum for debate and discussion and allows people to speak freely about their own experiences of mental health and wellbeing.  We provide access across the community to share knowledge and good practice to focus on mental health and wellbeing, creating a community that are focused on staying well.

We have previously welcomed high profile keynotes to talk about their own personal mental wealth including; Ruby Wax, Alastair Campbell, Hugh Grant, Grayson Perry, Johnny Benjamin MBE, Bryony Gordon, Ed Balls and Prof. Paul Dolan of the LSE.  We are proud to have been supported by MIND, Rethink and Samaritans.

Keep up-to-date
To receive information for the 2020 Mental Wealth Festival including when the programme and boookings are live please sign up to our mailing list here >

Festival archive
View previous Mental Wealth Festivals > 

Mental Wealth Festival 2019 > 

Mental Wealth Festival 2019



Your feedback

At the Mental Wealth Festival 2019 we asked our visitors;
What one thing will you take away from your session at the Mental Wealth Festival 2019? 

  • The importance of there being peer support and and fact there is a shortage of BAME counsellors and what I can do about mental health.
  • To do more meditation, thoughtfulness and being open.
  • As a therapist I will create more workshops for men, talking therapies at local community centres
  • Sandra Kerr's contribution to the BAME panel discussion and seeing a black woman influencing at that level
  • Awareness and to hear the panel speak so authentically. Beautiful.
  • Virtuous circle instead of vicious circle
  • Openness and vulnerability
  • Better able to support BAME people in my network after this event
  • Allowing my inner child to come out
  • I want to do more sessions on mindfulness and art
  • Good to see that people value people with a mental health problem
  • Wrote one sentence in a daily journal- very doable
  • Slowing down and noticing trees
  • Insightful and interesting, I learnt a lot and it was a very supportive group where I felt comfortable to ask questions
  • Sharing fears with others is good
  • Very helpful to see what it is I am doing and how to change it. I feel positive and very well
  • Breathing techniques for confidence

Thank you to everyone who gave us feedback on the event and tips for future festivals.