Explore Mental and Emotional Wellbeing with Into Film+

20 Sep 2023 in Into Film+

11 mins
Inside Out
Inside Out

Mental and emotional health within children and young people is an ongoing issue across the UK, and a topic that should always be prioritised in schools and other youth settings. Film can be a powerful medium to explore difficult subjects, understand other people's stories and experiences, and provoke discussion around complex issues.

At Into Film we want to help educators feel equipped to empower children and young people to be seen and heard, particularly when it comes to their mental wellbeing. The Into Film+ streaming service is the perfect way to bring discussions around mental wellbeing into the classroom.

In the lead up to World Mental Health Day on 10 October, we have a whole host of resources and films to support you in bringing mental wellbeing awareness into your classroom.

Films can a valuable way to explore difficult topics such as grief, bereavement, bullying and emotional awareness, and can support both primary and secondary students in developing self-inquiry and compassion skills.

Browse the highlighted films below, and stream them for free* with Into Film+, where you will also find curriculum-linked resources, film guides, and exclusive extras to help you delve deeper into the issues covered by this carefully curated selection of films. Plus, if you're a state school in England that's funded by the Department for Education, you'll have access to Into Film+ Premium, which offers even more films with which to explore stories centred around mental wellbeing.

Teachers and educators of secondary-aged students can also join our Mindfulness Through Film online course, which explores how film watching and filmmaking can be used to introduce mindfulness principles and exercises into the classroom.

Feature Films: Primary

Inside Out (U)

A perfect primary-aged Pixar adventure which explores the vastness of human emotions and how children can begin to understand them, as well as how to begin facing up to some of the challenges involved in growing up and coping with change.

Inside Out on Into Film+ includes an introduction from children's mental health charity Place2Be, a short documentary exploring the topic of emotions and how they're conveyed in the film, and an interview with the film's co-director, Ronnie del Carmen.

Onward (U)

Another heartfelt animated adventure from Pixar about grief, moving on and brotherly love, Onward is a story of two brothers who have lost their father and are on a magical quest to say their final goodbyes.

Turning Red (PG)

From Pixar, Turning Red is a funny, heart-warming, and thoughtful film about generational knowledge and the complicated experiences of young girls at a pivotal time in their development, as a thirteen-year-old girl begins to turn into a giant red panda whenever she experiences strong emotions. It is also a much-needed story that centres East Asian experiences.

Wonder (PG)

This is the story of Auggie, a young boy with facial differences, who heads to a mainstream school for the first time and faces challenges fitting in and making friends. How will he work through this difficult time for any young boy? Wonder is a great way to broach subjects of bullying, acceptance, compassion and kindness with your students.

Wonder on Into Film+ includes an introduction from a young filmmaker and ambassador from anti-bullying charity Kidscape, and a short documentary taking a a closer look at Auggie's experience in school, which includes discussion points for young learners.

My Life as a Courgette (PG)

A film that broaches challenging subjects in a sensitive and colourful way, as Courgette, a 9-year-old boy, is moved to a children's home after the death of his mother. This French animation highlights grief and bereavement through a gentle exploration of the thoughts and feelings that a young person might have when facing a difficult period.

My Life as a Courgette on Into Film+ includes a special introduction from Into Film, and a short documentary explaining UNICEF's Rights of the Child and how some of those rights are demonstrated in the film.

Feature Films: Secondary

Dear Evan Hansen (12)

This timely coming-of-age musical, based on the hit stage show, follows a teenage boy suffering from social anxiety who becomes an overnight internet sensation, and explores topics including mental health, social media, and the importance of family in all its forms.

You can also watch our informative Q&A with Dear Evan Hansen director Stephen Chbosky, actor Nik Dodani, and Jane Caro, a mental health expert and Assistant Director for Programmes in England from the Mental Health Foundation, hosted by broadcaster and campaigner Gina Martin.

A Monster Calls (12)

A creative fantasy film that follows the story of Conor, a young boy who has been suffering emotionally due to the fear of losing his ailing mother to illness. If that wasn't enough, Conor is also bullied at school, and ultimately turns to nature - in the form of a giant, living tree - which eventually becomes a source of comfort and support.

A Monster Calls on Into Film+ is accompanied by an interview with actors Liam Neeson and Lewis MacDougall, an exclusive interview with Director, J.A Bayona, and an interview with Patrick Ness, screenwriter for the film and author of the book it was based on.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (12)

Brand-new to Into Film+, this coming-of age film explores the journey of ‘wallflower' Charlie as he integrates into his first year of high school, with all that comes with it; exploring himself, forming new relationships, studying and having fun. Balancing emotion and humour, The Perks of being a Wallflower highlights some of the challenges young people face at a pivotal time in their lives.

Joker (15)

One of fiction's most famous villains gets an origin story in this dark comic-book adaptation that asks questions of mental illness, fame, crime and social behaviour, as an aspiring comedian in Gotham City begins to psychologically unravel, taking on a new, dangerous persona.

McQueen (15)

This documentary follows the life and influential work of fashion designer and creative, Alexander McQueen. With intimate access to those closest to him, the film highlights his rise to fame, subsequent decline, and his struggles with mental health and addiction.

McQueen on Into Film+ includes an introduction from co-director and writer Peter Ettedgui and an exclusive interview with Ettedgui and fellow director Ian Bonhôte.

Submarine (15)

A coming-of-age comedy that illustrates the life of 15-year-old Oliver as he struggles toward manhood and his own sexuality. This quirky exploration of a young boy's life is a great film to watch and discuss with secondary pupils who may be experiencing similar feelings.

Short films

I Am Good at Karate (Unclassified)

11 mins, recommended for ages 11+

Coming from a family with a long history of depression and anxiety, a young teenager finds themselves face-to-face with their own personal demons, who have taken the form of a large and colourful monster made of torn-up football shirts. This short and personal film, shot on gorgeous 35mm film, tackles mental health in the United Kingdom in both a surreal and relatable fashion, focusing in on the small things that give us strength. 

Homebound (Unclassified)

10 mins, recommended for ages 11+

In this experimental documentary, the anonymous voices of young people, recorded at home while in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, are knitted together with a series of evocative portraits of empty urban spaces and pent-up youthful energy. The result is an introspective and empathetic piece of visual poetry, which may offer catharsis and inspiration to young audiences searching for their own expression. 

Home (Unclassified)

5 mins, recommended for ages 5-14

This short film collaboration between Save the Children and Aardman marks one year since the war began in Ukraine and explores the challenges experienced by young refugees faced with displacement. Brilliantly depicted without dialogue, this colourful animation encourages discussions around migration and isolation in a gentle and accessible way for younger age groups.

Lost Connections (U)

13 mins, recommended for ages 11+

Lost Connections is a short film, drawing on a century of archive footage, that offers a poetic response to the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, which gave everyone pause to stop and reflect, to question and re-assess what is most important to us.

Made possible through a unique collaboration between twelve film archives across the UK, the film creates multiple associations with histories and memories, our common experiences of loss, loneliness and isolation, and the need for the human touch. 

It is not a film about the pandemic; it is a film about recovery, hope and renewal; the human character; sadness and joy; what we really value and our gradual reconnection with each other, our communities, and the world around us.

Into Film+ Premium Titles

A Beautiful Mind (12)

This tender and compassionate film tells the true story of mathematical genius John Nash, who has the ability to solve the world's most complex equations, but struggles with his own mental health. With a powerful central performance and evocative direction, this film highlights the quest for knowledge, the importance of science and the healing power of empathy.

A Street Cat Named Bob (12)

Based on his autobiography, this is a tale about James Bowen, a recovering drug addict living on the streets of London. After a chance encounter with a stray ginger cat who he decides to name Bob, the busker begins to turn his life around largely thanks to this new feline friendship. This is the true story of how one man and his cat overcame adversity to prevail, becoming inspirational figures to many in the process.

Little Miss Sunshine (15)

Loveable seven-year-old Olive dreams of winning a beauty pageant - and within her dysfunctional family, her dream is the one bright spot. Her fellow family members, all of whom harbour dark secrets or major issues, pile into a broken-down van and to drive across the USA to help Olive realise her goal. While never being less than incredibly funny, this big-hearted film also manages to prove that though the darkest times and in the most troubled situations, the bond of family remains one of life's greatest gifts.

Films and more from the Educational Recording Agency

As well as the feature films and shorts listed above, Into Film+ also features an ever-growing collection of films and TV content provided by ERA (the Educational Recording Agency). This includes a trio of documentaries that see British celebrities opening up about their own experiences with various mental health issues.

Nadiya and Me is an open and sometimes raw documentary which follows Great British Bake-Off winner Nadiya Hussain, as she explores her experiences with anxiety and her quest for help.

Also available is David Harewood: Psychosis and Me, which sees the British actor exploring a period of psychosis he experienced as a younger man, spending time with young people currently receiving treatment for psychosis, along with emergency NHS and police teams in Birmingham. It's a raw and personal investigation into some of the underlying causes of psychosis, and addresses the stigma attached to mental health conditions in society.

And finally, Jesy Nelson: Odd One Out explores the Little Mix singer's experience of cyber-bullying in the wake her success on The X Factor, and sees her meet with young people, parents and specialists to discuss how social media can negatively impact one's body image.

How Do I Get Started?

To access Into Film+, all you'll need is an Into Film Account - it's completely free, and only takes a moment to set up. Into Film+ is free to use for all UK state schools that hold a valid Public Video Screening (PVS) Licence from Filmbankmedia.

Filmbankmedia PVS Licences are paid for on behalf of schools by all local authorities in England and by some local authorities in both Wales and Scotland. Into Film NI cover the license cost for some schools in Northern Ireland. For further information on licensing in your locality please see our FAQs.

If you don't have a PVS Licence, or aren't already covered, then a licence can easily be obtained from Filmbankmedia.

Filmbankmedia logo, the words Digital, Entertainment, Technology appear


Filmbankmedia licenses and distributes film and TV entertainment to many groups and is the licensing authority we work with to ensure schools, libraries and youth groups have the permissions to screen films from our catalogue.

* Screenings for an entertainment or extra-curricular purpose require a PVS (Public Video Screening) Licence from Filmbankmedia. State-funded schools in England are covered by the PVS Licence.

Into Film and the Into Film+ streaming service is supported by the UK film industry through Cinema First and the BFI through National Lottery Funding, thanks to National Lottery players. Since the very first National Lottery draw in 1994, public support - raised directly through National Lottery ticket sales - has funded more than 670,000 projects, raising more than £46 billion for good causes.

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