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New Ogden festival looks to shine light on mental health

By Rob Nielsen - | May 23, 2023

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The Mitten Durch Mental Health Festival, set for Saturday, May 27, aims to shine a light on Utah's mental health crisis.

OGDEN — A new festival is coming with the goal of bringing notice to Utah’s mental health crisis.

The Mitten Durch Mental Health Festival — set for Saturday at the Ogden Amphitheater starting at 1:30 p.m. — is the brain child of Sandra Hohmann.

“A couple years ago during COVID, I met a couple of local musicians because they were the only ones still playing,” she told the Standard-Examiner. “I told them I always wanted to do a festival. Actually, I’ve told them that for years, but I never thought it was going to happen. Then I got hit in a car accident and got a settlement and I thought, ‘Well, if I have the money, now I can do it.'”

She said this year became the year to make that dream come true.

In a press release sent to the Standard-Examiner, the festival is described as a place to learn about mental health resources as well as offer a bit of relief.

“Utah has the highest rate of mental illness in the United States,” the release said. “Almost 30% of all adults in Utah suffer from mental health problems according to Nicerx.com’s US Health Report 2022. Mitten Durch Festival hopes to normalize taboo subjects and lift the shame of mental health issues and provide festival goers with information on where to turn in time of need. It also seeks to provide temporary relief, even if only for a moment. It is the goal of the festival that individuals feel strengthened by the support of the community which in return will have a great impact on all aspects of our lives including the workplace, churches, and community affairs.”

Hohmann said mental health has long been on her mind.

“I didn’t grow up at home because my parents were mentally ill, so I grew up in an institution,” she said. “When I got to the (United) States, a couple years ago, there was so many young people in Utah that died of suicide. It was upsetting to me because my kids went to three different high schools … and in each school, during my kids’ years, two students died of suicide.”

She said that this festival will have an abundance of activities.

“It will include several mental health organizations and several organizations from the LGBTQ community giving information out to people so if they need something, they know where to go to seek help,” she said. “We have bands … I have games, I have food trucks, I have a clown and I’m going to tell people what Mitten Durch is all about.”

The band lineup includes Foreign Figures, Blindlove, future.exboyfriend, The Junk Percussion Trio and Old Ghost.

Hohmann said she hopes to make the festival an annual fixture in Ogden.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/MittenDurchfest. For tickets, visit https://bit.ly/41XwQog.


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