Youth mental health on screen

Youth mental health on screen

This year, we’ve been creating space for young people to explore issues around mental health through our Inside Out project. It culminated in an amazing exhibition of artwork last month.

The final work of art is now finished – an innovative short film made by young people, for young people – and you can watch it here.

Why did we make a film?

The number of teenagers with mental health problems has doubled in the last 20 years – it’s now one in five. Over the last ten years, there’s been a 68% rise in the number of teenage girls admitted to hospital because of self-harm. It’s an incredibly important issue – one that schools do their best to address with the limited resources they have – but children can wait up to a year to receive help through CAHMS.

Young people are often afraid to talk about their struggles with mental health, and can feel like adults are not really hearing them. Yet they have a lot to share. This film project was an opportunity to empower teenagers to explain, in their own words, exactly how they feel and what they are experiencing – to teachers, parents, health professionals, and to other young people who need to hear their message.

We’re very grateful to the More Arts foundation, who sponsored us to bring this film project to life through their legacy fund, and to the former Mayor of Wokingham Town, Gwynneth Hewetson, whose vision helped it get started.

How we made the film

In the film, you’ll see young actors powerfully and honestly expressing the thoughts and feelings of other people their age.

The script was generated at our Inside Out school workshops, where students shared their views on what makes them feel anxious or angry; what affects their mental health and what helps them.

Then, in a theatre workshop, the young actors decided which statements to use and worked with 18 year-old film maker James Hastings and Soulscape’s director Jane Turner to put together a production that would express a powerful message.

What now?

We’ll be using the film in schools to start conversations with young people about these issues and let them know they’re not alone. It’s already been shown to health professionals in the region, and will be seen by lots of other people who work with teenagers so that their message gets through.

As for the young actors in the film – they’re finding it helpful to have this production in their portfolio, and several are getting involved with Soulscape’s ongoing work.

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