To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, Cambridge Junction has worked with young people to make a film offering a message of hope for those struggling with their mental health
In partnership with The Darwin Centre, a specialist unit for young people with complex mental health challenges, Cambridge Junction Creative Learning Team has worked with young people to produce My Illness, an affecting, thought-provoking film, that shines a light on difficult mental health issues. The film’s contributors speak openly about their experiences: of staying at The Darwin Centre, of learning to better understand themselves – and of the importance of remembering that there is always hope.
The group worked with a professional film-maker and theate-maker to tell their stories through the medium of film, and took part in workshops that introduced them to filming and editing techniques, story crafting and dialogue writing. The project aimed to boost teamwork, leadership skills and confidence, as well as support the development of imagination and creative communication, fostering inclusion and improved self-esteem for young people who are often marginalised due to their needs.
The film’s contributors speak openly about their experiences – and of the importance of remembering that there is always hope
“This film is so important to raise awareness of young people’s mental health, particularly at a moment in our collective history when there has been such a traumatic event in the lives and development of all our children,” says Matt Burman, artistic director at Cambridge Junction. “At Cambridge Junction, we are committed to working with education partners to ensure that more young people with a whole range of complex needs have the opportunity to benefit from the creativity, confidence and voice that the arts can provide.”
The project was one of a series of funded theatre and film-making projects which support young people with complex needs to make their own films. This specific project was funded through BBC Children in Need and Cambridgeshire Community Foundation, and has received additional support from the #iwill campaign, Cambridge City Council and Arts Council England.
My Illness is available to watch from midday on Monday 10 May on the Cambridge Junction website, as well as on the Junction’s social media channels. junction.co.uk/my-illness
Cambridge Junction has also developed a page on its website where young people can find information on charities and organisations who can offer help and advice on mental health issues. Head to junction.co.uk/advice to find out more.
Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 10-16 May 2021. For more details, visit mentalhealth.org.uk/mental-health-awareness-week