Moving Minds 2: Supporting young people's mental wellbeing

29 Jan 2021

10 mins
Moving Minds 2: Supporting young people's mental wellbeing

Young people's mental wellbeing has always been a high priority for Into Film and we are acutely aware of teachers reporting the ever-increasing numbers of children and young people 'in mental health crisis' as a result of lockdown.

Film is a uniquely supportive medium that can be used for those struggling with their own mental health and we are very proud to have been able to create Moving Minds 2, our second program of youth-made short films that tackle the subject of mental wellbeing. 

The Moving Minds 2 short films launch ahead of Children's Mental Health Week, 1-7 February, a project made possible with the funds raised at the 2019, ICAP Charity Day.

The films, created by young people with the help of professional filmmakers, are personal and topical, with themes ranging from being trapped in lockdown to coercive domestic abuse. The project has built on the delivery, success and learnings of the first Moving Minds initiative, with additional elements introduced to increase the overall impact and to further enhance the project's legacy and sustainability. 

I was extremely impressed at how the filmmakers were able to adapt to the project. It was clear the young people really valued it and had a great time taking part! Watching the finished film back was a moving experience, as we know young people are going through similar challenges in the current lockdown.

Dr Jasmine Anilmis, Clinical Psychologist, CAMHS Tower Hamlets

Working with existing partners from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and mainstream secondary schools, the project gave young people aged 11-19 the opportunity to work in small groups with professional filmmakers, devising and creating their own short films around mental wellbeing subjects of their choice.

Moving Minds was an innovative project funded by ICAP Charity Day 2017 with a donation from the Pinewood Studios Group, and supported young people in London and the South East. It was recognised by both mental health services and education specialists as a powerful intervention to support mental health. Most importantly though, it had a profound effect on the young participants with the peer-to-peer nature of the filmmaking allowing them to collaborate with those in similar situations and feel less alone. 

When planning Moving Minds 2, we created four core outcomes for the project:

  • To develop young participants' filmmaking and storytelling skills, including script development, filming and editing.
  • To improve young participants' essential life skills including communication, self-esteem, confidence and team building.
  • To develop educators' skills and confidence in filmmaking with young people who have specific support needs.
  • To raise audience awareness of mental health issues with and for young people through filming and sharing short film content.

In addition to the filmmaking workshops, participants also had the opportunity to attend a career focused webinar delivered in partnership with Equal Access Network, which explored different roles within the film, television and animation industries. It provided insight and inspiration to young people who want to understand more about the opportunities for further training or employment within these sectors. Find out more about how to watch and who was involved at the bottom of this article. 

The project has been amazing because it has allowed me to learn the features of filmmaking and meet other similar young people to me. It has given me a platform to contribute ideas and be part of a welcoming group. As a young person with special educational needs this project has enabled me to boost my confidence and believe in myself.

Young Person from CAMHS

The organisations who took part in part in the project were:

  • Grays Youth Theatre
  • Tower Hamlets Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  • CAMHS Bedfordshire and Luton
  • Haringey Learning Partnership

Check out all of their brilliant films below!

Grays Youth Theatre: Like, Share, Delete

Into Film age rating: 11+ (The film is about emotional and physical abuse)

Key themes: Emotional and Physical Abuse, Social Media, Isolation, Speaking Out

Synopsis: Alex is worried about her friend Mary. Seeing her become increasingly isolated from their friends Alex tries to find out why but when she uncovers the truth she needs to overcome her own past in order to help her friend.  

Tower Hamlets CAMHS: Ups and Downs

Into Film age rating: 7+

Key themes: Life in Lockdown, Isolation, Social and Academic Pressures

Synopsis: A reflection of the experiences, ideas and attitudes to the ups and downs of lockdown life in 2020.  

CAMHS Bedfordshire and Luton: Not Alone

Into Film age rating: 7+

Key themes: Social, Academic and Family Pressure, Anxiety, Isolation, Strategies to Improve Mental Health

Synopsis: Three young people explore their mental health journey. From exam stress, to anxiety, and fear of isolation: the young people all experience varied personal struggles and have different ways of coping. Through exploring these difficult feelings, they realise that they are not alone in these experiences.  

Haringey Learning Partnership, Pulford House: Don't Look At Me!

Into Film age rating: 7+

Key themes: Social Anxiety, Social and Academic Pressure, Coping with Mental health Challenges

Synopsis: A small accident in a classroom escalates into an emotional overload for a young man causing them to run out but an angel (voice in his head) comforts him and gives him the strength to return and carry on.  

Haringey Learning Partnership, Pulford House: The First Day

Into Film age rating: 7+

Key themes: Social Anxiety, Social and Academic Pressure, Coping with Mental health Challenges

Synopsis: A young man struggles with positive and negative emotions as he gets ready and travels to his first day of a new school. 

Facilitating this filmmaking project has been the greatest joy in a difficult year. Working with this group was so rewarding: they were so open, engaged, and had wonderful ideas.

Angelie Stephens, Filmmaking Workshop Facilitator

Covid-19 and Delivering Online

Whist the full effect of Covid-19 on mental health within young people is currently unknown, creating the means to openly discuss and creatively explore those subjects has never been more relevant. It was therefore essential that Moving Minds 2 be adapted to the current circumstances whilst providing just as much impact for the young people involved.

The delivery of the filmmaking workshops was adapted through a blend of live online and pre-recorded workshops led by professional filmmakers. The pre-recorded sessions will be available to organisations who weren't able to attend live sessions to make the project as accessible as possible

We also worked closely with the organisations involved to identify the specific combination of formats that worked best for them including:

  • Delivering into a classroom
  • Assessing remotely from their own homes
  • Online live sessions delivered remotely by our filmmakers  

It was a really useful and insightful project, as we got to see what it would really be like working in the industry and with professionals.

Young Person (18) from Grays Youth Theatre

The Project's Accessibility and Legacy

To supplement the live online sessions, the filmmakers recorded a set of filmmaking videos that take participants through the process of making a short film, from creating an initial idea to filming, editing and screening their films (they also created a series of ‘how to animation' videos). This ultimately means that access to filmmaking goes beyond the original project and gives young people the chance to learn at their own pace.

One of the key questions of learning remotely was of what equipment would and could be used by the young people. The programme was therefore specifically designed for creating films on smart phones and tablets, and these devices were purchased for any organisation that didn't already have them. Buying equipment allowed the young people involved and potential future cohorts to continue developing their filmmaking skills and even run their own projects.

Following the success of Moving Mind 2, Grays Youth Theatre are considering changing their name to incorporate film and make it permanently part of their delivery.

It has also inspired me after 27 years of teaching drama to consider teaching Film studies now as well, such is my conversion to the medium, due to our participation in the Moving Minds project. Thank you so much for the opportunity!

Andrew Palmer, Director of Grays Youth Theatre

Being part of something like this has helped me in lots of different ways. It's developed my confidence and really boosts my mood, I hadn't had a good day but coming together boosted my mood. It's really amazing.

Young Person (14) from CAMHS

Starting a Career in Film, TV, Games & Animation

Moving Minds 2 and the Equal Access Network bring you a webinar and Q&A:

Starting a Career in Film, TV, Games & Animation

Listen to an expert panel including:
* Adeel Amini (TV Producer, 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire')
* Michael French (Head of Games, Games London)
* Tom Box (Co-founder, Blue Zoo Animation)
* Jordan McGarry (Head of Talent Dev. and Prod., Film London)

These professionals present the growing career opportunities available and offer advice on pathways into these industries and a Q&A was conducted at the end of the presentation. 

A massive thank you to everyone that participated in Moving Minds 2! Meanwhile, for other Children's Mental Health Week activities, take a look at our newly updated Emotional Wellbeing film list.

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