Arts + Minds was established by Health Service Executive (HSE) mental health staff in 2008, with funding and support from the HSE Cork Arts and Health Programme and HSE Mental Health Services Cork-Kerry. The group came together originally to develop a short-term music programme and have worked together ever since, in partnership with professional artists, arts organisations, health and community partners.


Arts + Minds aims to:

  • contribute to the health, wellbeing and recovery of HSE mental health service users through high quality engagement with the arts
  • facilitate service users to participate in and contribute to the cultural life of their community
  • challenge the stigma frequently experienced by mental health service users
  • promote the value of the arts within the HSE mental health services
  • enhance the healthcare working environment


Arts + Minds work across a range of mental health settings including; acute, special care, continuing care, day care and community. It includes a core group of 7 mental health settings; however staff, service users, carer’s and family members from other HSE mental health settings also get involved where possible.

The 7 mental health settings involved are:

  • Cúnamh Day Hospital/Day Centre
  • Duhallow Resource Centre, Kanturk
  • Mahon/Blackrock Community Mental Health Service
  • South Lee Mental Health Unit, CUH
  • St. Michael’s Unit, Mercy University Hospital
  • Togher / Ballyphehane Community Mental Health Service
  • Valley View Resource Centre, St. Stephen’s Hospital


Arts + Minds work with professional artists across all artforms including; music, creative writing, visual art, dance, storytelling and film (see below for a full list of artists).

We work in partnership, across the health sector and with the arts, community and other sectors.

We maintain a focus on a recovery approach and aim to work in a strategic manner, informed by national policy and the latest research.


Arts + Minds is managed by a Steering Group that includes staff from the 7 mental health settings above, 2 mental health service users, a student representative, and a member of the Irish Advocacy Network.

Funders and Partners

Arts + Minds is supported through the HSE Cork Arts and Health Programme and the HSE Mental Health Services Cork-Kerry. The group applies for project funding on an ongoing basis and has received funding from the Health Services National Partnership Forum and Cork City Council.  Arts + Minds has ongoing partnerships with the Crawford Art Gallery and Cork Film Festival and has also received support in kind from St. John’s Central College, and local businesses including the Quay Co-Op, Suits Distributors, Electric and others. The support of all funders and partners is greatly appreciated.


Arts + Minds work with professional artists across all artforms. Some of the artists we have worked with to date include:

  • Marie Brett, Visual Artist
  • Nico Browne, Musician
  • Ed Cashman, Creative Writer and Filmmaker
  • Orla Busteed, Harpist
  • Caoimhe Conlon, Musician
  • Charlotte Donovan, Visual Artist
  • Julie Forrester, Visual Artist
  • Ben Girling, Musician
  • Michael Greenlaw, Visual Artist
  • Denise Hall, Creative Writer
  • Rachel Healy, Choral Leader
  • Jo Nichols, Dance Facilitator
  • Kevin O’Shanahan, Musician
  • Chris Schmidt Martin, Actor
  • Pat Speight, Storyteller
  • Liz Powell, Choral Leader
  • Colm Walsh, Filmmaker







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