CONNECTION Cafes will help dispel common myths ahead of a mental health festival backed by Scottish Government funding.

The Perth and Kinross Mental Health and Wellbeing Festival, now in its third year, will kickstart with more than 20 of the cafes held across a variety of venues.

Starting from June 6 at Blairgowrie’s creative community hub NEST, locals will be able to meet organisations and agencies in a safe environment to find out about the services they offer over coffee and cake.

Roxanne Kerr, founder of Perth charity Trauma Healing Together, who organises the annual festival, said: “It’s not always easy to take that first step and reach out for support but, by creating an informal space where you can pop in for a coffee, tea and cake, people can turn up, meet those involve and discover more about the range of services and support that exist locally.

“Our Connection Cafes will also dispel the myth that mental health support is all about therapy – everyone is unique, support takes many forms and we need to shine a light on that choice. “Connection Cafes are also taking place right across Perth and Perthshire, making them accessible to everyone. No-one should be excluded from mental health support due to location or accessibility challenges.

“There’s a fantastic array of services all over the region and it’s important that people feel empowered to choose what’s right for them.”

The cafes will lead up to the festival, taking place at Perth Concert Hall on August 19 and 20, with various events and workshops for those who struggle with their mental health and wellbeing, such as mindful photography, arts and crafts, a silent disco, an all-ability fitness and art journaling.

Tracie Dick, director and facilities manager of NEST in Blairgowrie, and host of the event on June 6, said: “We’re committed to improving wellbeing and reducing loneliness through crafts but we pride ourselves on being a warm and welcoming environment to everyone, regardless of their creative skills.

This year’s festival is funded by the Scottish Government’s Perth and Kinross Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund and Perth and Kinross Council’s Community Investment Fund.